Sam Bisbee

Live at Arlene Grocery

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Singer/songwriters who augment their songs with production tricks -- as New Yorker Sam Bisbee does on his second record, Vehicle -- don't necessarily translate that well to the stage. So when Bisbee does translate, it's a pleasant surprise. This show, recorded on one of the longest days of the year at New York's legendary Arlene Grocery, isn't exactly revelatory, but it is a fun and entertaining portrait of a burgeoning artist performing for some of his most devoted fans. The freewheeling, early-summer spirit of the last days of June seep into every pore of this show -- partially because Bisbee remarks several times that "it's still light out!" through the first half of the evening -- and add to the disc's overall light and colorful texture. Most of the songs are Bisbee originals, and lean heavily on Vehicle, but he also throws in a note-for-note cover of New Order's "Age of Consent" for fun. Much of his show does seem to mirror the sound of that cut -- although his songs are the work of a singer/songwriter, many of them are built of danceable, repetitious chords, not terribly unlike New Order's earlier work. It's a fun live record, and will serve as a perfect souvenir for the many fans who have seen him in concert before.

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