Sometimes the visuals at a concert can be more entertaining than what you hear. With Eric Sommer this is defiantly the case. Not that the music was bad at the Cafe Acoustic for the Eric Sommer and For The Sound show on 11/1/12 but watching Sommer play his music is truly a treat.
For The Sound would take the stage before Sommer on the night. For The Sound is a solo venture by Zale Bledsoe of Dsoedean. For The Sound actually pre-dates Bledsoe’s band Dsoedean with Bobby Floyd, Colby Walter and Marcus Words.
Bledsoe would brave the stage despite having a recently broken leg and deliver a fittingly somber set of solo acoustic songs that ranged from Dsoedean tunes to songs too stripped down for the full band. He would start with the anticipated title track from the upcoming Dsoedean full length album, “Continue To Move”. Bledsoe would also move through possibly Dsoedean’s best song “Undertoe” and also hit For The Sound live staples “Brother Bear” and “The Sidecar, The Lighthouse, The Good Dream.” The latter song being a clear standout of the evening’s set.
Eric Sommer would ease onto stage and start a slow, building song that would erupt into a speed picker’s delight and get him warmed up for an exuberant set. The song would go on for what seemed to be around 10 minutes, going several minutes before ever having lyrics added to it.
Sommer’s stage setup was quite spectacular in itself, he would sit in front of seven guitars, all but one being acoustic. He would also play nearly all of them more than once while switching his weapons frequently.
Eric Sommer’s guitar playing is unlike any I’ve ever seen. His picking style blues is both fast and raw as well as escaping any way to accurately describe it. He plays creatively which gives him a unique sound that really would best be captured live. His playing involves many finger picks and slides and rapidly moving from fret to fret along the neck of his guitar and occasionally beyond the frets.
He would be supporting his new CD billed as Eric Sommer + Solar Flares called Rainy Day Karma. He would go through selections off the album like “I Caught A Cab” and “Cover My Soul” making a strong case for how good the album was. He would do a quirky song off the record named “Harmony of the Meek” toward the end of the night about selling automatic weapons in sunny Afghanistan that would be both catchy and amusing because of the subject matter and the very different music he attached to the words. He would also close out the night with a track from the album in “Thunderstick” that he simply described as loud and fast.
The crowd was small on this Thursday night but it didn’t deter Sommer and he summed it up with the great outlook of “Don’t get attached to the outcome” that proved to be a positive and fitting point of view for the night. He would be selling a small plethora of merchandise that is always refreshing to see. He was selling cool little poetry books dubbed “notes from the vanishing open road” named Black Pancake and Red Chairs. He also handed out free domino pins like he wore on his hat and a great marketing tool of clothespins with his website stamped on them. He of course also had the album Rainy Day Karma for sell packaged in a paper sleeve for the lean price of $5, always a great souvenir for such an interesting show.