Aaron Rosenblum – Philadelphia – The Khyber, PA – 2005-04-07

Aaron Rosenblum
Where: Philadelphia – The Khyber, PA.

When: 2005-04-07

Sometimes it’s fun to take a chance on seeing some live music when you aren’t at all familiar with the bands playing. The night of April 7th is the first time in awhile that my husband and I have thrown caution to the wind and gone to a gig without knowing anything about the acts or at least having had a recommendation from a friend or other source. And even though it’s hard to remember exactly how many shows I’ve seen at the Khyber, I can easily say I’ve never been completely disappointed. Most often the music is great, and one lousy opening band surely doesn’t ruin the entire night.

Despite being unfamiliar with the four acts, it was surprising to find the Khyber so empty on a Thursday evening. Normally there’s a fair amount of people here any night of the week, but on this occasion the crowd was sparse at best. Aaron Rosenblum was already onstage as we arrived so we only had the chance to catch a few of his pretty, jangly Pink Floyd-esque songs. It’s a shame we didn’t see his whole set because what I heard was quite lovely. We stayed at the bar for Christina Carter’s set because neither of us felt moved by her music. The songs were kind of ambient with an ethereal quality, but the wailing vocals just rubbed both of us the wrong way.

Up next was the four-piece band Mountains of Matallamma, and this is where the show got really good. The group is three guys (guitar, bass, and drums) and one woman (keyboards), and they play a unique blend of jazz-rock fusion with plenty of reverb and fuzzy distortion. If jazz and progressive rock gave birth to a spacey, psychedelic child, this band would be it. Their set consisted of two long jams with just a minute or so break in between – the band members didn’t talk at all, just a quick tune-up and they took off again. The music had a great ebb and flow, and with no vocals it was easy to get engrossed in the sound. Mountains of Matallamma is a fairly heavy band, but the members still kept a melodic, pulsating rhythm going that was absolutely euphoric.

Mountains of Matallamma was so great that it made sitting through the other two acts (who weren’t bad, just not my style) completely worth the admission price. A fourth band, Sunburned Hand of the Man, also played, but we didn’t get to see their show. For just $10 on a rainy Thursday night we got to discover a great new band that we’ll surely see again. Although seeing a show without any prior knowledge of the groups playing or the music can sometimes backfire, finding just one new favorite is well worth the chance.