Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hamel on Trial

Hamel on Trial
Originally uploaded by Bob Rhubart
What draws me year after year to the Black Swamp Festival in Bowling Green, Ohio, is the chance for exposure to acts I've not seen or heard before.

One-man act Hamel on Trial is a good example. Described on the Black Swamp Web site as "Punk Acoustic from NY," Hamel pounded out two short, intense sets of original songs loaded with attitude, political/cultural commentary, and lots of wit.

Hamel on Trial is a proponent of a fascinating school of acoustic music that ain't really acoustic. His guitar sound combines the depth and resonance of an acoustic with the thunder and distorted edge of a rock-and-roll electic guitar. The result is a hybrid that perfectly complements his rapid, open-chord strumming and wild-eyed stage presence.

Hamel made mention several times that he had adjusted his selection of material to suit the family-friendly tone of the Black Swamp festival -- a smart move given the number of kids in the audience. (The title of one of the songs on his Web site: "Pussy".)
But even in PG-mode Hamel elicited more that a few grins and outright laughs from the audience with his Woody-Guthrie-on-Crystal-Meth performance.

Check this guy out.

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