Clare & The Reasons
Clare Muldaur Manchon, Alan Hampton, Olivier Manchon, Greg Ritchie, Beth Meyers, Christopher Hoffman, are a band creating swirling orchestral pop, complete with a string section. They will be celebrating the release of their debut CD "The Movie" in 2007. The upcoming record includes guests such as Van Dyke Parks, Gregoire Maret and Sufjan Stevens. It will be released on the new label Frog Stand Records.
The Boston Globe says: "Clare & the Reasons: her own songs are full of melodic surprise and urban fun. Her pure, shimmery soprano is a marvelous instrument, with a trembling, heart-melting vibrato, and a sleek, muted resonance."
Clare has had 2 of her songs in Lionsgate feature films and she sang 2 songs on the Fox show Arrested Development. Clare has also had her music placed in the HBO original show Cathouse.
Clare Muldaur Manchon - Lead singer/Songwriter, guitar
Alan Hampton- Bass, vocals
Olivier Manchon-Violin, Melodica, guitar, vocals
Bob Hart- Piano/guitar, vox
Beth Meyers- Viola, Vocals
Christopher Hoffman- Cello
Greg Ritchie- Drums
"The Movie" Clare & the Reasons
"Private Astronomy" a vision of the music of Bix Beiderbecke-Geoff Muldaur (Universal)Harmony vocal
"Bentley Circle" -Clare Muldaur (independent release)
"Sweetheart"-Clare Muldaur(independent release) independent Japanese distribution
"Super Model" Mark Insley (Rustic Records)harmony Vocals/duets
"Password"-Geoff Muldaur (Hightone)singing lead on "At The Christmas Ball"
"Tucson"-Mark Insley(Rustic Records) harmony vocals/duets
"Avalon Blues"- Mississippi John Hurt's music(Vanguard)-"Chicken"sung with Jenni and Geoff Muldaur
"Shekinah"-(Epic/HRR)-compilation-"Bus To You" by Clare Muldaur
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Press Quotes for Clare Muldaur Manchon "New England-born singer-songwriter Clare Muldaur is bless...Press Quotes for Clare Muldaur Manchon
"New England-born singer-songwriter Clare Muldaur is blessed with a sweet, high voice and a musical sensibility that spans the 20th century. The recording is an intimate, musically sophisticated affair, kind of a folk cabaret experience." ASCAP News
"She was often magnetic onstage, phrasing her lyrics in unexpected ways that showed a melting pot of influences from Bessie Smith to Mildred Bailey to the more contemporary Elvis Costello and the McGarrigle Sisters. Clare is still raw talent- reminiscent of a young Jewel (who also played the Kendall at one time) and possessing vast potential." The Boston Globe
“Ever been able to taste sound? I can't help but imagine a sugar coated, sour lemon drop that causes the mouth to water. With daintily sweet vocals like an early jazz and dixieland singer, Clare Muldaur tantalizes the listener with her versatility to deliver sparkling folky jazz, full-out Pop, and nectar-sipping country folk gems. Mildly quirky, yet strong enough to have you puckering your lips at the sharpness of taste. But that isn't to say that this woman doesn't have substance- amid all the bursting flavors of sweet, sour and salty, this woman is firmly grounded in a strong character, fine songwriting, and swaying melodies.” Tamara Turner, CD Baby Music Editor/Reviewer
"What makes her album stand apart from most singer-songwriter debuts is the tension between the poised elegance of her arrangements and the vulnerable girlishness in her vocals." Pasadena Weekly
"The remarkably self-assured Sweetheart, which spotlights 24-year-old Clare Muldaur's wonderful 1920s radio baby voice. She sprinkles in some pop songs, but most of the album gestures back to the jazzy golden days of radio." The Northeast Performer
"Miss Muldaur, at 22, is a musician of surprising confidence and poise, and her performance was enchanting. her music was a graceful blending of jazz, blues and old-time sounds, the instrumentation providing a simple setting for the jewel of her high, sweet and penetrating voice. The playful and affectionate banter between Miss Muldaur and her partner, Mr. Manchon, on stage was as delightful as their music. Remember the name Clare Muldaur. If you were lucky enough to be in the hall on Saturday night, you'll be able to brag someday that you heard this great singer and songwriter, singing her songs of love lost and found, in the early days of her performing career." The Vineyard Gazette
The Boston Globe aug 2006
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A Berklee grad, her music is a sophisticated blend of modern alt-folk, rootsy jazz, and sweet pop th...A Berklee grad, her music is a sophisticated blend of modern alt-folk, rootsy jazz, and sweet pop that she sums up as "poppy-jazzy-orchestral-songwriter." Appearing with her seven-piece band, Clare and the Reasons, her own songs are full of melodic surprise and urban fun; but also feel right at home beside the standards she sings, like "Prelude To a Kiss," and "Georgia." Her pure, shimmery soprano is a marvelous instrument, with a trembling, heart-melting vibrato, and a sleek, muted resonance. It's not too much of a stretch to say that she sings the way Chet Baker's trumpet sounded on cool, blue ballads."
PITCHFORK ALBUM REVIEW
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PITCHFORK ALBUM REVIEW There are worse ways to kick off a debut album. Atop an orchestra of pluck...PITCHFORK ALBUM REVIEW
There are worse ways to kick off a debut album. Atop an orchestra of plucked strings and backed by a complementary chorus of Reasons, Clare Muldaur's knee-buckling voice sings a bittersweet but ultimately uplifting song about the now-dwarf planet Pluto. "Cheer up, Pluto," she croons, "the stars still love you, and we down here do, too." Coupling this sort of charm with Muldaur's gorgeous voice, equally gorgeous orchestration, and a nice list of contributors (including Beach Boy abettor Van Dyke Parks, internationally-renowned harmonicist Gregoire Maret, and obscure indie troubadour Sufjan Stevens)
"Nothing/Nowhere"-- the former's 90 seconds sounds like a missing movement from a 1940s Disney soundtrack, while the latter apes the same stuff that Beatles-era McCartney would when in a show tune mood.
THE VILLAGE VOICE
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THE VILLAGE VOICE "Cinematic" is an overused descriptor among music journalists, but in the case ...THE VILLAGE VOICE
"Cinematic" is an overused descriptor among music journalists, but in the case of Clare & the Reasons' debut, it's unavoidable. Clare Muldaur Manchon, who hails from Martha's Vineyard, is an expert scene-setter ("I like to cook for you in my underwear 'cause our kitchen points to a wall," she sings on the utterly romantic "Cook for You"), and her Brooklyn-based band ably provides the ambience necessary to flesh out these lilting odes to New York City. "Under the Water" and "Love Can Be a Crime" certainly possess a moody, wistful quality.
Sentimentalist Magazine Review
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Joe’s Pub Review Clare and the Reasons, Joe's Pub, NYC, 09.10.07 : Sentimentalist Magazine Review...Joe’s Pub Review
Clare and the Reasons, Joe's Pub, NYC, 09.10.07 : Sentimentalist Magazine Review
September 11th, 2007 ·
Taking to the stage dressed in 'Secret Agent' garb (well, khaki trench coats and hats), "Pluto" came immediately to life; Muldaur's ethereal, breathy soprano, swirling cello, violins and keyboard, all perfectly in sync. Had I stepped into a time-traveling DeLorean unawares? Such magic in these tunes. Such romance, such genuine love for a genre that doesn't get enough attention these days, other than when NPR reminds us or younger folks that Billie Holiday, Julie London, Nina Simone and Dinah Washington are still very much relevant, and more influential than Beyoncé could ever hope to be.
Just before introducing "Nothing/Nowhere" (a tune Sufjan Stevens contributed to on the record), Muldaur joked, "Welcome to our insanity. We like to keep things a bit complicated," as husband and fellow bandmate Olivier Manchon made his way from instrument to instrument, with Pink Panther-esque stealth and wiles.
Watching Muldaur sing so gently, and sway so softly underneath a spotlight during "Under the Water" made me, quite embarrassingly, picture Christmas. At once, I pictured a bevy of holiday dinners, beautifully tinseled Douglas Firs, shiny wrapping paper and expertly-placed bows; snow falling on pine trees, the crackling fireplace with family gathered round.
"Pluton" was an early highlight, replete with otherwordly vocals from Muldaur, note perfect space-age flourishes and Manchon utilizing a saw blade with a violin bow. A frisky, playful "Rodi" followed with a star turn (as usual) by harmonica wunderkind Grégoire Maret. But then it happened, the true show-stopping moment. As it is on record, "Alphabet City," with the delightful phrase for those of us who wander the East Village on lovers strolls at night, "A, B, C, D, just you and me," is at once heavy like molasses, light as a feather and, quite frankly, the most romantic New York-set song I've heard in years. This one needs to be on radio now. Or maybe on the soundtrack for an upcoming romance-drama film starring Kate Winslet.
During "Love Can Be a Crime," which makes Muldaur "sweat," I took the opportunity to do a headcount of all the hardworking folks on stage. Final tally:10. The instrumental breakdown includes: three violins, two half-size cellos, one double bass, drums, backup keyboard, several guitars, and a small xylophone kit.
"Cook for You," yet another standout track, is so lovely, so beguiling and so unexpected. Even though our wispy chanteuse sings, "I like to cook for you in my underwear, because our kitchen points to a wall," (how New York) she goes on to mention that when she sees her reflection in a photo, she forgets that he "rests in peace." Wow. It's little touches like that, twists and turns in storytelling, that makes Clare and the Reasons such a blessedly welcome surprise.
Actually, I spoke too soon just now. The real welcome surprise came during the closer, "Science Fiction Man," and was to the band's credit, but possibly a wink-wink, nudge-nudge to all of us to not take such serious-sounding music so…seriously. Strapping on headbands affixed with flashing lights (think coal miners), the group's true playful, lighthearted spirit became obvious, and I chuckled to myself, chiding my literal-mindedness for missing out on all the fun to be had. But then again, if all that there is to glean from The Movie was apparent upon first listen, there would be no reason to cozy up with it again and again, would there?
Always heartwarming and fascinating, never treacly or precious, The Movie and its live incarnation at the hands of splendidly talented musicians, transcends its own confines and becomes so much more than a sum of its many, many parts: an ageless, timeless snapshot of beauty and its plethora of colored petals. –Carrie Alison
PRESS FALL 2007/WINTER 2008
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"The jazz-inflected arrangements are beautiful: with their water-colour wash of violins, bird-lik...
"The jazz-inflected arrangements are beautiful: with their water-colour wash
of violins, bird-like flutes and swooning celeste they have the heady
fragrance of an expensive perfume." The Guardian
"Clare Muldaur Manchon is seemingly destined for stardom." Q magazine
The Movie is a sassy blast of symphonic jazz-noir that twins the demob-happy
air of voguish revivalists like the Puppini Sisters with the future-folk
adventurism of your Joanna Newsoms.
Like Sufjan, Clare Muldaur Manchon isn't afraid to wear her erudition on her
sleeve.-- FOUR STARS- Observer Music Monthly
Atop an orchestra of plucked strings and backed by a complementary chorus of
Reasons, Clare Muldaur's knee-buckling voice sings a bittersweet but
ultimately uplifting song about the now-dwarf planet Pluto. "Cheer up,
Pluto," she croons, "the stars still love you, and we down here do, too."
Coupling this sort of charm with Muldaur's gorgeous voice, equally gorgeous
orchestration, and a nice list of contributors (including Beach Boy abettor
Van Dyke Parks, internationally-renowned harmonicist Gregoire Maret, and
obscure indie troubadour Sufjan Stevens)- Pitchfork Media
"Cinematic" is an overused descriptor among music journalists, but in the
case of Clare & the Reasons' debut, it's unavoidable. Clare Muldaur Manchon,
who hails from Martha's Vineyard, is an expert scene-setter ("I like to cook
for you in my underwear 'cause our kitchen points to a wall," she sings on
the utterly romantic "Cook for You"), and her Brooklyn-based band ably
provides the ambience necessary to flesh out these lilting odes to New York
City. "Under the Water" and "Love Can Be a Crime" certainly possess a moody,
wistful quality.-The Village Voice
Always heartwarming and fascinating, never treacly or precious, The Movie
and its live incarnation at the hands of splendidly talented musicians,
transcends its own confines and becomes so much more than a sum of its many,
many parts: an ageless, timeless snapshot of beauty and its plethora of
colored petals.- Sentimentalist Magazine
Public Radio International Interview
Bossa nova legend Astrud Gilberto. Easy listening nymphet Claudine Longet.
Alison Statton of Young Marble Giants. Clare Grogan of Altered Images.
Alison Shaw of Cranes. Nina Persson of the Cardigans. Alt-country singer Amy
Allison. And now, add to this pantheon of the great baby-voiced female
singers of pop music history Clare Muldaur Manchon. But the absolute
masterpiece is the final track, "Pluton," a loving re-creation of space-age
exotica complete with UFO-style pedal steel and theremin sounds trailing
through shimmering pizzicato strings, married to Muldaur Manchon's wry
lyrics about Pluto's recent demotion from planetary status. It's a perfect
ending to one of the most assured and enjoyable debuts of 2007. -All Music
Clare and the Reasons’ songs—earnest, but playful, never taking themselves
too seriously—are all about the little, poetic moments in life. And if you,
too, long for the world of Casablanca and red wine, then may I suggest The
Movie—the kind of record a young person could fall in love to.
"The gloriously named Clare Muldaur Manchon has the voice of a disappointed
angel, an attractive knack for the difficult art of deadpan melodrama, and a
driving affinity for the classic torch ballad. With the assistance of a
large and stellar cast, including Sufjan Stevens and Beach Boys collaborator
Van Dyke Parks allongside her usual group The Reasons, she's assembled a
bleakly delightful universe which combines, congruently enough, something of
the vocal style of Rickie Lee Jones with the wearily witty lyrical
sensibility of Tom Waits. Haunting, funny and altogether marvellous." Andrew
Mueller, UNCUT, CD Exclusive
"Making big bad brutal New York City feel like a place of gentle,
bittersweet romance is quite an achievement. It's one normally only possible
on screen - the film adaptation of Barefoot in the Park for example. The
debut album by Clare and the Reasons, knowingly titled The Movie, captures a
similar mood, with its palette of light folk, light jazz and light
orchestral pop. Clare Muldaur Manchon and her Brooklyn-based band make a
sound which is as episodic as Beach Boys circa Smile (the presence of Brian
Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks is no coincidence) and which has the
dreaminess of early Disney."-FOUR STARS -The Independent
Sufjan Stevens and Van Dyke Parks play on Clare Muldaur Manchon's debut, an
old-school set of dance-me-to-the-end-of-love strings and love-tipsy
chanson. Subjects on these retro-jazz ballads range from Pluto to frogs,
sans irony: sincerity prevails, with the wit, charm and swoon-craft you'd
expect from the backing players' pedigrees.- The Information/The Independent
BUZZ BEGINNING TO BUILD AROUND BEE-CRAZY CLARE & THE REASONS
- WORDS- ASH DOSANJH
-IMAGE- RACHEL LIPSITZ
"Clare & The Reasons are enjoying a post-gig drink in a sparsely decorated
restaurant-bar on Avenue B, a stone's throw away from their base in
Brooklyn. As US-native Clare Muldaur Manchon examines the menus placed
haphazardly round the table, her husband, Frenchman and fellow bandmate
Olivier Manchon, mocks the bottle of Kronenbourg he's just ordered. "You
know, in France this is a shit beer," he spits. "But here in America,
becuase it's imported, they think it's great."
The pair met while studying music at Berklee College in Boston and moved to
New York via LA because "it was the right place to be, musically", according
to Clare. It was in New York that they picked up the five other members of
their band and embarked on the musical journey they named Clare & The
Their debut LP, "The Movie" - a brilliant jazz-drenched pop record full of
cinematic and ethereal charm - was made with the help of such luminaries as
Sufjan Stevens (on 'Nowhere/Nothing') and Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke
Parks (on 'Love Can Be a Crime').
But it's Clare's voice that stands out most, reminding you as it does of any
one of the Rodgers and Hammerstein starlets of the 1950s or singing greats
like Bessie Smith, who Clare adores. "Hearing her was a pinnacle, a turning
point in my life," she says.
"The Movie," however, is not just about Clare - it's what's behind her
blues-tinged voice that ensures it becomes such a sublime experience.
Christopher Hoffman and Beth Myer provide a backdrop of heavy-heartedness
with their string arrangements and pizzicato playing, while bass player Ala
Hampton and Olivier's brashless backing vocals offer Clare full harmonic
support. And, even though songs like 'Love Can Be A Crime' and 'Under the
Water' hold a romantic and disconsolate feel to them, there's still mischief
and humour to be found on "The Movie." 'Pluto' and 'Cook For You' are
shining examples - the former an open lament to a star that has lost its
planetary status; the latter a song that includes the toungu-in-cheek lyric,
"I like to cook for you in my underwear." Indeed, when they play live the
band eschew ostentation for a little light-hearted fun, as made evident when
they perform 'Pluton' ('Pluto', only sung entirely in French) switching off
all the lights in the room and placing flashing minors' lights around their
Surprisingly, such quirkiness comes more from Clare's mother than it does
her father, the fold blues musician Geoff Muldaur. Sheila is a teacher and a
bee-keeper and one needs only to log onto the band's website to witness
quite how deeply she shares her mother's love of the furry, flying
creatures. She firmly states that she thinks her mum's choice of career is
"really cool" and surprisingly even intends to ase her next album on the
"I know this is going to sound crazy," she starts, "but I have this new song
about bees and I'd like to write a lot more songs about bees. I wanna try
and write something, and this may be hard to understand, that is about bees
but could also be about us. It is literally about bees and their society but
I want it to be a metaphor for ours too."
If "The Movie" is anything to go by, Clare & The Reasons' follow-up is sure
to be sweeter than honey."- Stool Pigeon-
MAGNET MAGAZINE: ISSUE 77
CLARE & THE REASONS: THE MOVIE:
Poor pitiful Pluto. So cold, so dark, so distant. And now that it's no
longer a planet, Clare Muldaur Manchon feels very sad. Breaking the bad news
in "Pluto" and "Pluton," the two cuts that bookend The Movie, Manchon's
soprano quavers like a falling souffle, a trio of sccharine strings playing
pizzicato in the background. It's a beautifully lush, '40s-era opening, her
voice resonant with romance. The Berklee-educated daughter of Geoff Muldaur
(guitarist of the gleefully retro Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band), Manchon sings
as if she's been time=traveling like this all her life, as if it were
perfectly natural to swing this effortlessly from jazz to fold to noir and
back again. The smartly contemporary songs overflow with style, whether
she's writing about bohemian break-ups ("Alphabet City"), waxing
philosophical ("Love Can Be A Crime") or dreaming of wedded bliss ("Cook For
You"). The Movie is a slyly earnest, bubbly concoction, its melodies
buoyant and its lyrics sharp. With help from Gregoire Maret, Van Dyke Parks
and Sufjan Stevens, the seven-piece Brooklyn band packs all the high drama
of a full orchestra: sharp, urbane and deliciously unstuck in time. [Frog
UNDER THE RADAR- MATTEW CHRISTOFFERSEN- 7/10
Clare & The Reasopns: The Movie (Frog Stand)
Sufjan Stevens and Van Dyke Parks won't do guest arrangements on just
anybody's record, and this Brooklyn septet's debut is often delightful, a
blend of orchestral chamber pop strings with a good dose of noir atmosphere.
Precious and pretentious? Certainly, but the band's ambitions never exceed
its reach. (www.claremuldar.com)
BLOOM- GERMAN- FRIEDRICH REIP
Nur unwesentlich ruhiger geht es bei Headlines und ihrer sowohl als CD als
auch als 7'' erhältlicher Single "Takeover", die aber doch im
verhältnismäßig klaren Popsong-Rahmen bleibt. Nicht der ganz große Wurf
vielleicht, hübsche Musik von hübschen Jungs aber allemal!
Höchste Zeit also für ein Mädchen in dieser Runde: Alan Hampton, Olivier
Manchon, Christopher Hoffman, Beth Meyers, Greg Ritchie und Bob Hart sind
The Reasons, und Clare Muldaur Manchon ist, nunja, Clare; gemeinsam sind sie
Clare & The Reasons und ihr Album "The Movie" darf sich mit "The Great
Unwanted" von Lucky Soul um den Titel "zauberhaftestes Debüt des Jahres"
rangeln. Federleicht zeitlos klingen die elf Stücke, wie eine voll
durchinstrumentierte Slow-Motion-Version der frühen Cardigans. Das ist
manchmal mehr Soundtrack als Pop, stets aber ganz wunderbar, ungemein
romantisch und wahrlich etwas Besonderes.
Clare and the Reasons
Clare and the Reasons’ latest release, “The Movie,” opens with a reverberant
throng of violins playing arpeggiated pizzicato lines. Above it all floats
the flute-high voice of Clare Muldaur-Manchon as she sings, “Pluto, I have
some frightful news for you. In the New York Times, they’ve just reported
you’ve been overthrown from your silver throne for good.” This musical
dedication to the former planet is indicative of the Reasons’ music overall:
quirky pop that is rich with strings, lush vocal harmonies, and lyrics that
tend toward the romantic. Another favorite is “Cook for You,” a ballad
dedicated to a loved one that opens “I like to cook for you in my
underwear.” In the hands of Ween, this would sound ridiculous, but
Muldaur-Manchon’s sincere and sweet delivery makes it simply dreamy. Her
husband, Olivier Manchon, is the source of the Reasons’ heady string
arrangements. They transport the recording to a place where the band no
longer inhabits a stage, but stars in a perverse, otherworldly movie in
which we all get to fall in love.
Article published Oct 16, 2007
'Movie' with broad appeal
October 16, 2007- The Washington Times
Adam Mazmanian - Clare & the Reasons
Frog Stand Records
"Chamber pop," as a genre name, is not going to move many units. Yet it's as
good a way as any to label Clare & the Reasons, the Brooklyn-based septet
behind the sweetly mysterious new release "The Movie."
Led by singer-songwriter Clare Muldaur Manchon, the band favors gentle
tempos and richly textured melodies, with a strong emphasis on strings —
cello, violin and viola. Miss Manchon's voice is by turns kittenish and
self-assured. She ranges high, high into the upper registers, but without
straining or cracking. Check out her falsetto on "Science Fiction Man" for
Her cool presence lends itself to the old-school cinema motif. In publicity
photos, the band gambols in trench coats and fedoras, but there's nothing
especially noirish about Clare & the Reasons. Instead, the feel merges the
plush, opulent optimism of Depression-era MGM musicals with the unexpected
zip and odd lyrical twists of Elvis Costello. Listen, and you'll hear echoes
of the early 1990s lounge movement, as typified by Combustible Edison. But
there also are nuggets of Serge Gainsbourg, Burt Bacharach, Sgt. Peppers-era
Beatles, Elton John and Belle & Sebastian. It's hard to classify, but it's
certainly more alternative than rock.
The first track, "Pluto," is the gem of the album. It opens with a playful,
almost dizzy barrage of strings, the kind of theme that might accompany the
creeping of a cartoon mouse. In her lyrics, Miss Manchon bemoans the 2006
downgrading of Pluto to the status of dwarf planet, singing: "Pluto I have
some frightful news dear/ In the New York Times/They've just reported you've
been overthrown/ From your solar throne for good."
The last track on "The Movie" is dubbed "Pluton," and it's basically the
same except with French lyrics and help from a rippling piano part and the
ghostly howl of the theremin. "Science Fiction Man," too, has a cinematic
feel, with a frantic guitar intro that might accompany footage of futuristic
flying cars. On the spiritual-inspired "Love Can Be a Crime," Miss Manchon's
collaborator and husband, Olivier Manchon, plays a heavy, rhythmic piano
part that applies a gravitational pull to the soaring vocal line. Meanwhile,
"Rodi" blends a solemn string introduction with an impudent-sounding
chromatic harmonica part, which yields to a chorus of falsetto voices and
"The Movie" is one of those new albums that should have a lot of
intergenerational appeal. It will speak to young (or youngish) fans of bands
such as Lambchop, Arcade Fire, Architecture in Helsinki and Magnetic Fields
that regularly employ strings, winds, concertinas and the occasional
glockenspiel alongside the more traditional implements of rock.
Yet it also, I think, will find traction with older listeners looking to
dabble in new music but not willing to sacrifice their hearing.
We usually do about 10-15 songs per set, about 50-100 minute sets.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.