LIVE: Genre fused Friday night at the Hollow with West End Blend and Bella’s Bartok 1/24/2020

The venue was nearly sold out as West End Blend took the stage Friday night at The Hollow. The eight-piece funk band from Connecticut opened with “Smile” a quick tempo groove with steady brass build-up. Lead vocalist, Erica Bryan, wasted no time in showcasing the emotion and strength of her range. A big crowd pleaser was “Must Be Voodoo”, drummer Sam Horan started with excitable cymbals and keyboardist Paulie Philippone sent out waves of organ chords when suddenly the brass and guitar sections thundered in for a high energy jam. This song demonstrated the band’s intuitive timing as each musician had a chance to dish out stand out solos. The band shared their latest new single, “Dangerous” a steamy melody with unwavering bass rhythm from Tom Sullivan and a lyric driven message of respect and love. The set ended with “Is That All You Got” where trumpeter Mike Bafundo provided James Brown like vocals for old school ‘70s vibe and the whole band harmonized for a climatic finish. Don’t miss West End Blend as they finish their Winter Tour at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake on February 8th.

West End Blend

It was fascinating to watch the Hollow transform from a funk driven dance party to a gypsy punk mosh scene thanks to Bella’s Bartok. Bella’s Bartok is a seven-piece band from Massachusetts, that rocks dark eye makeup, suspenders, unkempt hair and a sense of old-world mischief. There were suddenly balloons and odd shaped monster like head pieces being tossed around as the band began their set with “Strigoi Waltz”. An explosion of sound that morphed into a symphony of celebration. Alex Kogut played the accordion, giving the music a “traveling European circus” sound. Lead vocalist, Asher Putnam roared into the microphone with grit as his bandmates would righteously harmonize every time. The drummer known as Crisco set up an impressive machine like marching rhythm during “Say No” that amplified the brass section. A popular fan favorite is clearly, “Fiddler and the Devil” as the crowd sang along to the lyrics of the inevitable end and making peace with the life you’ve lived.

Bella’s Bartok

Bella’s Bartok sprinkled in a few new songs throughout the night that rumor has it will be making their way to a new album coming soon. “Ramona” was a sunny upbeat tune with unwavering strumming from bassist Dan Hiederhauser as guitarist Lucas Solorzano kept egging the crowd on with fist pumps and guitar riffs. Bella’s Bartok is easy to love with their wacky vocals, exaggerated playfulness and individualism. Be sure to catch them on their winter tour as they make stops all around the northeast now until March 14th.

Photo Gallery by Mike Hallisey

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