The show had already started and the sound came rushing up the stairs to meet me as I made my way to the basement of the Izzy Bar that night in '97. The sound, like Led Zeppelin on overdrive wearing a Stetson and armed with 21st Century calculus, made my hair stand on end. I'd been told by those who know that The Hermanators were probably the best band in the city and that their leader, Mitch Stein, was a New York guitar legend. Sure enough the room was packed, full of some of the finest improvising musicians anywhere, devoted fans and even a contingent of the "beautiful people."
Over the course of the set they played with energetic hyper funk, raucous raging rock, hymnal beauty, twisted country and bemused blues underpinned by advanced harmony and intricate grooves all the while displaying incredible empathy between each other and a healthy dose of humor