San Fermin at the Ottobar

Several months ago I saw that San Fermin was going to be playing Baltimore at the Ottobar. I thought I might like to go see them, but since I didn’t think I knew anyone that would want to go with me I didn’t get a ticket at the time. I don’t mind going to standing room only shows by myself so I decided that I would just get a ticket closer to the show if I felt like going alone. Then of course because it wasn’t on my calendar I sort of forgot about it. Luckily some friends saved me from myself. We were at a wedding together last weekend and they asked if I knew the band and told me they were planning on going and I should come. I’m so very glad they did because it was a great show.

I had never heard of the opening act, Esme Patterson, but I enjoyed her as well. She was a little bit rock and a little bit country. She played three songs from a concept album of songs written from the point of view of women in songs. The three she played were based on Townes Van Zandt’s Loretta, Dolly Parton’s Jolene, and The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby. I’m curious to listen to the rest of the album and see who else she featured on it.

San Fermin is an eight piece band with some of the members playing instruments like the violin, the saxophone, keyboards, and trumpets. It makes for some almost orchestral sounding pop music. It’s also a lot of fun to watch them all up on stage. They bring a lot of energy to their performances. The drummer even managed to break a snare drum in the middle of the show last night, and they had to momentarily stop the performance while it was replaced. I’ve never seen something like that happen before.

They played a good mix of stuff from both of their albums plus three new songs. I really loved all the new stuff and it made me look forward to whenever their third album is released. I particularly adored the song “August” and can’t wait to hear it again. Their music has a lot of different nuances with some songs with a female vocal lead and some of them with male vocal lead and some songs more lyrical and poppy and others more instrumental. When a band has so many great songs of their own I hate to use one of their covers as an example, but they closed the show with a cover of the The Strokes’ “Heart in a Cage” last night and feel like it encompasses little examples of all the variations in their songs. Plus it’s just really fun to watch them play it. (The video is not from the show I was at.)

It was a really fantastic show, and I’ll definitely be going to see them again when I get a chance.

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