23 January 2024


It could be 55 Bar, as least it could have been 55 Bar a few years back when it was still open and Sean Wayland was known to play there.  This is the 55 Bar next to the famed Stonewall Inn on Christopher St in NYC and just near W4th St where we once stayed and a few steps from Smalls and Village Vanguard and Blue Note.  Those were the days.  But this was Smiths and Sean Wayland was in town playing with an old sparing buddy Nick McBride and Chris Pound who gigged with him on a visit to NYC.  And it was a madly ecstatic outing.  There was some fully understandable wariness from the offisders for some quick syncopated tunes and the reading therewith.  That immensely witty and busy songwriting that's accompanied by a prog rock synth presence and Moog fatness and gloriously melodic solos.  This is a music of speed and humour and virtuosity of an outgoing nature with perhaps a few soulfully embellished vocals speaking of shortened humdingers (Dinger) or wedding gigs (Club sandwiches)  or homemade synths (G2X Daisy) or failed promises of the Net (Shitformation superhighway) or modulations of some sort (Fried chicken modulations, or locally, Chick roll...) or a cover or two (Men at Work Overkill, Mondo Rock Cruel world) or even a solo ballad (We'll get through).  All with virtuosic fluency and glorious synth tonality and some degree of trepidation in Chris' eyes.  But Chris was funky and impressively on cue in some madly syncopated reads and just a blowout otherwise, and Nick was driving and exemplary and, well, our ex-Sydney NYC- resident of 25 years was just a blast as leader and keyboardist and tone-searching melodist.  Just wow.  A fabulous, infectious, overwhelming outing, in Civic, at 4pm in the afternoon.  Just a blast.  And I heard someone complain that they played a cover.  I couldn't get that.

Sean Wayland (keys) led a trio with Chris Pound (bass) and Nick McBride (drums) at Smiths.

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