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Sunday, September 7, 2014

LouFest ReviewFest: Big Brother Thunder and the Master Blasters, San Fermin, RAC

Posted By on Sun, Sep 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM

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San Fermin:

Brooklyn's San Fermin could have whistled out of its collective asshole and still played the most composition-savvy set in the early hours of Day One. The band, spearheaded by classically trained composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, is an amalgamation of contemporary classicism and well-crafted pop sensibility. Ludwig-Leone's acumen was on full display during new jam "Parasite." The track will not be in our grubby palms until San Fermin's next album, but certainly raises expectations about that upcoming effort.

A juxtaposition of Rebekah Durham's frittered, fiddle-inspired violin and propulsive hip-hop percussion, "Parasite" ripped apart San Fermin's set (otherwise consisting of songs from its first album), gazed downwards on its former incarnation and bellowed in Allen Tate's knee-weakening baritone. Oh, you loved the last album's sound? Well, I'm here now, and I do what I want.

The member of San Fermin who most embodied the bristled bravado of "Parasites" was vocalist Charlene Kaye. I had read accounts of Kaye's braggadocious stage demeanor, but seeing it for myself really brought the whole thing home. During "Sonsick," Kaye riled up to ballistic levels and shot guttural vocal riffs toward the crowd that could rival the roar of a lion. She performed like a woman indifferent to San Fermin's level of popularity, and behaved like her band, not Arctic Monkeys, were the headliners on Day One.

Her disposition affected the band, too. Trumpeter John Brandon and saxophonist Stephen Chen strode toward an audience whose taste for brass seemed insatiable during every solo. San Fermin's last song, a cover of the Strokes' "Heart in a Cage," gave the entire band reason to sauce itself up. Kaye and Tate conquered opposite monitors and shot each other so much side-eye that the vocalists could have overdosed on sass before Kaye (literally) laid herself on the crowd. At the end of the set, an audience member waltzed up to me, her eyes so large they peeked over her sunglasses, and enthusiastically announced, "They gave me chills!"

Continue on for more LouFest reviews.

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