Press Photo #3 by Carlos Detres

Alejandro Meola at Black Squirrel

Sometimes the best music is the music that finds you and provides that unexpected and uplifting crescendo to an otherwise habitual Sunday. Commence brunch to nurse the effects of a late Saturday night, soak in the perfect DC fall weather, maneuver through the bars that are the temporary homes to so many displaced rowdy NFL fans, and duck into the Black Squirrel, where at this moment, it’s possible to both watch football and breathe simultaneously. Positioned at the depths of the basement bar we notice the stage being set for what looks like it could be a performance by Joey Ramone reincarnate.


Meola in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina

The DC listener, with the city’s constantly expanding population and music scene, is privileged in that at any given time, one could be privy to something truly inspiring and raw in the way music was intended. Expecting nothing more than an open mic type performance, we couldn’t have been further off. There are rare times when music transitions from something in the background to the focal point that defines the moment. Alejandro Meola opened his solo acoustic set with Purple.

It was a snapshot of star performer playing his heart out to a local Sunday crowd that was just beginning to trickle in. We were hooked by the time the vocables “la la la” permeated the room as the chorus struck – stark contrast in the depth of the verse which Alejandro himself describes as “esoteric.”  Alone, without the foil of his band, Meola’s performance is darker. As he plays a noir effect creeps across the bar.


Meola interviewing for Latination (LATV)

Meola’s sound is entrenched in the blues/rock genre but his range both vocally and melodically extends far beyond that. His voice is powerful and cuts through a small venue in a way that is not fully captured on a recording. This was particularly apparent in The Beatles cover of A Hard Day’s Night. Meola takes liberty with this classic, slows it down to a pace that seems to eliminate the pop feeling it’s so well known for, dims it. We noticed heads turning away from the games and towards the stage. Throughout his set, he would move from chords, to strings of blues inspired riffs, at times both playing and singing melodies in unison. Asked about this after the set, he attributes much of this style to his blues influences.

Currently touring the east coast, slowly making his way back to NYC, which he now calls home, Alejandro merits a serious listen. If you have the chance to see him live, don’t pass it up. Once he returns to New York you might be able to catch him at Piano or Mercury Lounge, among other venues, accompanied by his band, the Robinsones.
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