I’m belatedly familiarizing myself with the music of Eleni Mandell, and after listening to a couple of her records, the show Sunday (June 3) at Schubas was a nice introduction to her work. She alternated between quiet, almost cabaret alt-country songs (more gothic than twangy) and old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll numbers (a slight touch of rockabilly). Mandell played one of those pint-sized guitars (standard six strings, but a smaller body), and she remarked after one of her livelier songs that the audience probably didn’t expect she would rock so much after seeing how small her guitar was.
The opening act, Judson Claiborne, played a solo acoustic set of sad songs – he noted a couple of times that all of his songs are depressing. He sang in a froggy baritone and wore an old-fashioned hat, which matched the music. The audience was pretty quiet and respectful, considering that he was a little-known opener. I’d like to hear more of Claiborne’s music.