Jared Samuel’s name shows up a good bit around these parts; even at a young age (tonight was almost his 26th birthday) the guy has already established himself as a go-to player for touring and local acts alike. Invisible Familiars gives Samuel a chance to stretch his wings as frontman, and he proves that no matter the setting, he’s able to deliver a compelling performance. In this case, he and his band (which has a rotating cast that includes Rachel Housley on backup vocals) performed in the round at the Manhattan Inn, which is becoming a go-to Greenpoint venue thanks to Hypnocraft taking over as the booking agent. It’s not always easy to give a full-on rock performance on the floor of a restaurant that advertises itself as a piano bar, but Invisible Familiars pulled that off, even with a more stripped-down instrumental lineup.
We’ve also seen Samuel appear several times with The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Sean Lennon’s latest vehicle, and Invisible Familiars’ live sound suggests that not all of the Beatlesque flourishes of the former band came from the Lennon side. Samuel’s work shows a ready acquaintance with both the melody and vocal stylings that the world’s most revered rock band pioneered, but that classicism is anchored on the band’s 2015 debut Disturbing Wildlife with a delightfully modern dose of the weird, delivered in the form of keyboard and electronic flourishes. Those pieces weren’t on hand for this show, which required the songs to lean more heavily on their songwriting and melody. Needless to say, Invisible Familiars scored without those accoutrements, especially on “Clever Devil” and “Elaine Serene,” as well as “Digger’s Invitation.” The latter song is likely the source of another favorable comparison Samuel has earned — to Marc Bolan — and this pure rock song swaggers in a manner familiar to any T. Rex fan. There were also a couple of choice covers in this set, including of Henry Mancini’s “Lujon.” Don’t wait until next year to see Invisible Familiars — you can catch them at a Sunday residency at the Ace Hotel in Manhattan all this month.
I recorded this set with Audio Technica 4051 microphones in front of the band, together with a soundboard feed that primarily supplied vocals. There are a few moments where the vocal PA distorted, but for the most part, the sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!
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Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard + Audio Technica 4051 (onstage)>Zoom F8>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (fades, adjust levels, align, mix down, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, imaging, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
01 You & Yr Arrow
02 Clever Devil
04 Elaine Serene
05 Heavenly, All
06 Lujon [Henry Mancini]
07 Act One
09 New Mutation Boogie
10 Sideways Rain [Paul Dooley]
11 Digger’s Invitation
13 Disturbing Wildlife