The Bitter End is an historic rock club in NYC and one I used to go to all the time. When on Wednesday my Facebook feed told me that Poundcake would be playing there that evening, I decided to make the trip. The Bitter End and Poundcake all for $10? I had to go.
The greeting at the door is always happy. There’s no dour doorman. I sat at the bar since I was alone and watched the end of the previous band’s set. They were a very good but not great Americana band – fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and upright bass. A lot of the crowd was there to see them and they were just finishing up a tour of the Northeast.
Teddy Thompson (vocals, guitar), Jeff Hill (vocals, upright bass), and Ethan Eubanks (vocals, drums) had to conduct their set-up and soundcheck in full view but finally the music started. The first song was a beautiful showpiece for their harmonies. There were familiar songs like “Little Sister,” “That’s Alright, Mama,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “It’s So Easy.” And other country/rockabilly songs like “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” “Important Words,” and “Ain’t That Loving You Baby.”
Thompson blew everyone away with his vocals on “Why Can’t He Be You?” And they brought up Bill Sims on piano, who was brilliant on songs like “Hit the Road Jack” and “I Put a Spell on You” among many others. There was a George Jones medley including “Poor Little Rich Boy,” “Just a Girl I Used to Know,” and “The Race is On.”
As always there were funny asides from Eubanks and Thompson would crack up. There was a lot of tuning and teasing about that. One piece of fruit in a drink became a drink with lots of fruit. Before “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” Hill asked Thompson if he knew about divorce and Eubanks immediately referred to the piece about Thompson in the New York Times Magazine and Eubanks ended his riff by saying that his parents’ divorce got a lot less coverage. There’s a new CD and a discussion about the technical aspects of uploading ended up somehow segued into a discussion about working at the post office and the uniforms.
The set ended with “Runaway” and it was far too soon to be over. We all could have sat and listened to another 20 songs and still want more.
By Carene Lydia Lopez