LIVE: MoonRyder @ Club Helsinki, 3/15/13

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Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Tim Livingston

Led by the multi-pronged collaborations of C. Ryder Cooley and Lady Moon, it was a haunting, delightfully diverse evening of entertainment at the forward-thinking Club Helsinki in Hudson.

The female acoustic trio Pocatello – featuring Liv Carrow, Baby Willis and Sasha Pearl – kicked off the evening with a sparkling set that veered from old-timey to a cappella, warming up the large crowd perfectly.

C. Ryder Cooley – with her ever-present animal alter-ego Hazel strapped to her back – debuted a new configuration of her band, which featured percussionist Nkula Badila, guitarist Corey Aldrich and keyboardists Sara Ayers and Cameron Melville, as well as dancer-autoharpist Lady Moon. Throughout the evening, Cooley played accordion, ukulele, kazoo and musical saw as she led the band through a selection of songs from Xmalia: Songs of Extinction, a song-cycle that pays tribute to such now-vanished species as the Xerces Blue Butterfly, Deer Gigantus and Voluputus Dodo. And as it turned out the performance also served as the CD release party for both the Xmalia CD), as well as the accompanying illustrated book.

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And after a brief intermission, Nkula Badila and C. Ryder Cooley returned to the stage, this time with Lady Moon at the helm of the musical procedings. And it wasn’t all about the music, either, as Cooley ventured off the stage and onto the dance-floor area, where she defied gravity with some aerial silk acrobatics accompanied by Lady Moon’s music.

No question about it, this unique collaboration of two utterly unique performers definitely lived up to its billing as “an evening of music and enchantments.”

Moonryder @ Club Helsinki Hudson (photo by Tim Livingston)

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Pocatello @ Club Helsinki Hudson (Photo by Tim Livingston)

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