Like many other Manhattan expats, The Living Room recently relocated from it’s legendary Lower East Side location to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But, this venue known for featuring some of NYC’s best and brightest roots musicians hasn’t skipped a beat.
On a cold Monday night, Cole Quest and the City Pickers brought their down-home bluegrass to keep us warm. Fronted by the black cowboy hat-wearing Quest on dobro, they played a balance of traditional bluegrass tunes and clever originals. Quest's “Buy Me Back Barry” talked of old time cowboys sitting at the saloon, begging their bartender for another round. Being the City Pickers, the bartender in question was located in Astoria, Queens, cementing a mix of tall tales and modern troubadours.
The band captivated the audience with passionate singing, tight arrangements and a contagious energy you need to experience to truly understand. Christian Apuzzo (Guitar/Vocals) and Margaret Mug (Upright Bass/Vocals) - both from NYC’s exploding bluegrass scene - shined in “A Good Woman’s Love,” while Douglas Goldstein’s blistering banjo lines seemed to explode from his resonator. The red overhead lights seemed to turn purple as Matheus Verardino’s harmonica brought forth a roar of blues.
In a world dominated by automation and technology, the tradition of acoustic music in NYC is not only alive, but thriving. Bluegrass in particular seems to have warmed the hearts of music lovers throughout the city with it’s approachable melodies, familiar themes and virtuosic musicians.
Cole Quest and the City Pickers play every other Monday at The Living Room, with their next show on 4/13. More info here.