Rock & Pop

Amendola Vs. Blades

When: Sat., Sept. 29, 9 p.m. 2012

When drummer Scott Amendola and organist Wil Blades came to Awaken Cafe in June, they regaled their audience with a mix of recognizable, but not-so-obvious standards -- a few tunes from Duke Ellington's Far East Suite and a jaunty rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Nutty" -- plus several originals. Blades dragged in a Leslie speaker (a large, old-fashioned amplifier that uses the Doppler effect to create tremolo and vibrato), but otherwise the two kept their setup fairly lean. Though drum-and-organ duos aren't particularly common, Blades and Amendola are convinced they'd make a viable "cafe music" format. At Awaken, it worked. Fans were dazzled by the sheer range of tones that Amendola and Blades produced, as they oscillated from chunky swing tunes to harder bebop. Amendola, in particular, is known for his wandering sensibility (he features a lot of found objects on his own recordings), but in this group he sticks by the credo that less is more. That's a hard line to toe with an instrument as big and meaty as a Hammond B-3 organ, but these guys do it convincingly. They'll reappear at Awaken Cafe (1429 Broadway, Oakland) on Saturday, Sept. 29. 9 p.m., $12-$15. AwakenCafe.com

Rachel Swan

Price: $12-$15

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