Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marcellus Hall and the Hostages

All right! So, I saw Marcellus Hall and the Hostages last Friday night at Union Hall and, at the risk of sounding too cute, the band held me hostage for their entire set. Yeah, too cute. Of course, I was a already a fan of both Mr. Hall's previous incarnations, Railroad Jerk and White Hassle. Those bands embraced a more punk blues vibe. His new work has dropped the punk and added more soul with a greater hint of southern gothic. A sort of "neo-soul" in the spirit of Bon Iver, M. Ward and Langhorne Slim. The energy and soul Marcellus Hall brings to all his music is entertaining and inspiring. Until recently, he had been performing solo and I believe most of the songs are born out of that period. However, by abandoning his solo politic and adding a band, the Hostages, it seems he has added a more rocking and uptempo sound to what are a very smart and sweet collection of songs ("Some people like to stick to their own kind, but love is elusive and blind." Broken Phone, or, "Well your the only one in this world that I adore and I'm always laughing with you, I'm not laughing at you anymore." Laughing With You). Marcellus mentioned he's going to record with the Hostages soon. I can't wait. And, I hope it means they'll be playing out in New York more soon. You will not be disappointed. It should also be mentioned that Mr. Hall is a very fine illustrator with a few New Yorker covers under his belt. Check that work out too. Like his music, it is entertaining and inspiring.


  1. This writing is inspired. Well informed, intelligently laid out, and uniquely voiced (including, or maybe despite, the brilliant groaner for the opening). A pleasure to read and again really wets my appetite. Nice job.

  2. I'm with you on this guy. I recall driving in L.A. listening to KCRW when I still lived out there when this very cool punk/blues band came through the speakers of my 1987 Mercury Topaz. I was so taken with the sound that I pulled into a parking garage on La Cienega to wait for the dj's set to end and list off the songs he had just played. I was already very into Pavement and the first Liz Phair record so I wasn't too surprised to hear that Railroad Jerk was on Matador records out of NYC. When I moved back East I would find myself running into Marcellus everywhere and still do. Often he'd be sitting at Veselka with a notebook or riding his bike through the Lower East Side. I managed to see White Hassle once at the Continental and enjoyed it. But Aaron, I must say I am more partial to his punkier side than I am to his blues stuff but will still look forward to catching the Hostages. "Cute" name.