Blake Mills and yMusic, with a surprise guest appearance by Fiona Apple, rang in October at Le Poisson Rouge last night with a show that had the audience’s attention riveted to the stage the entire time. yMusic, a contemporary six-piece classical group made up of Rob Moose, Nadia Sirota, Clarice Jensen, Alex Sopp, Hideaki Aomori, and CJ Camerieri on cello, viola, violin, flute, clarinet and trumpet, took the stage around 7:30pm. The collection of hip virtuosi played a thirty minute set comprised of songs from their new album, Music for Heart and Breath which follows their 2011 LP, Beautiful Mechanical.
One piece was even inspired by the sounds an air conditioning unit was making, entitled “Music in Circles,” hallucinated (and written) by Andrew Norman on a hot, hot day. The audience filled up the seats and table area, ordering tantalizing dishes and quality cocktails while thoroughly enjoying the hip, futuristic classical ensemble. As one gent put it, “I’ve never listened to classical music while drinking a beer!”
Blake Mills and company took the stage after an hour long intermission, during which a full drum kit, organ pit, electric bass, electric and acoustic guitar were set up. Full of food and drink, comfy and happy, the audience immediately perked up when Mills came out. Though certain solos and fan favorites denoted the necessary hoot and holler, the crowd remained very respectfully quiet throughout the entire performance, giving Mills and his band their full attention.
“I thought it was incredible. I think dynamically it was the most amazing show I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been to a show where the crowd was that focused on the music, and I think that speaks wonders of the musicians involved,” said Danny N., 22 from New York.
Blake Mills’ setlist for October 1st at Le Poisson Rouge included “Unworthy,” “Hey Lover,” “Never Do You Wrong,” “It’ll All Work Out,” “Havana,” “Gold Ghost,” for the first half of the show. Then “Make Believe,” “Don’t Tell Our Friends,” and “Seven” proceeded a surprised appearance from Fiona Apple, who came up to sing “Half Asleep,” “Cry to Laugh,” and “Before it Fell,” much to the joyful shock of the audience.
Her presence prompted comments like, “Holy shit! No way! Wow.” She naturally charmed the pants of the audience (no, not literally) with her stunning performance and her playfully cute banter. “I thought it was awesome. It was great! I love her [Fiona Apple]. It was great to see her,” said Liza, 36 from Brooklyn. Mills closed out his close to two hours long set with “Under the Underground” and “Women Know” on his own before presenting an encore of “Curable Disease” and “Tomorrow Night.” Purchase his 2011 album, Break Mirrors, pre-order his newest 2014 album Heigh Ho and find out more about Blake Mills on his website.