APOSTLE OF HUSTLE at Barcode, January 16. Tickets: Free. Attendance: 15. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
it's easy to see what guitarist/vocalist Andrew Whiteman's working toward with his unfortunately named Apostle of Hustle project.The defining characteristic of his weekly Tuesday-night sessions at Barcode is looseness. Whiteman and his quartet play songs that inevitably break down, with a staggering groove ultimately dissolving into an even more shambling jam.
It's a feeling Whiteman worked at with varying degrees of success in the self-described "latin sleaze" of his former band, ¡Que Vida! The Apostle of Hustle tones down the clave, but the slow grind remains.
At Barcode, in front of a dozen eager friends and a dog that carried around a beer cap on its tongue, Whiteman strung his twanging guitar out over a clanking cowbell, loping bass and distorted trumpet lines, alternating between sloppy jazz and low-slung pop. Comparisons to Marc Ribot and his Cuban Postizos are inevitable -- Whiteman even began his set with a Ribot song -- but the Apostle of Hustle crew put much more focus on group efforts than showboat soloing.
Yet for all its looseness, the group did manage to keep it together. Less successful were the drawn-out slow jams that broke up the natural rhythm of the set, though they did offer local bassist/songwriter Leslie Feist the opportunity to pull a melodica out of her purse, climb out of the audience and onto the stage to toot along.
A sound very much in progress, but one worth keeping an eye on nonetheless.