Last Friday night brought the New York-based orchestral chamber-art group San Fermin to Off Broadway here in St Louis. I was a big fan of their highly underrated 2013 self-titled debut record, itself a meticulous 17-song suite written and composed by Yale-educated Ellis Ludwig-Leone. So I was curious how Ludwig-Leone is able to translate his vision for his highly literate record live. Turns out, I need not be worried.
When Ludwig-Leone led out his eight-piece group, complete with horns and string players, I knew I would be witnessing something grand. Led by singers Tate Allen and Rae Cassidy (who had the unenviable task of replacing the twin female vocals of Lucius‘s Jess Wolf and Holly Laesig from the record, yet succeeded admiringly), San Fermin effortlessly waltzed and impressed the crowd with their soaring vocal harmonies and pulsing sounds. Saxophonist Stephen Chen was especially impressive as he contorts and twists his instrument to provide the blasting beats of San Fermin‘s songs. And there was Ludwig-Leone, content to stay on the side of the stage doing keys, so proud of his vision coming to life as the band soaks in the cheering adulation of the crowd.
Opener Ryan Lott, also known by his alter-ego Son Lux easily warmed up the crowd, a number of which were there to specifically see him. Lott’s three-piece band ramped up the volume and the audience as they pounded down with his electronic experimental beats.
Check out photos from the show below as well as a live recording of San Fermin‘s excellent single Sonsick.