Nat Osborn @Cameo Gallery, New York

Nat Osborn brings Big Band power & singer-songwriter intimacy to Cameo Gallery.
Powered by a seven-piece band (including a brass horn trio) the Nat Osborn band effortlessly filled the space in Cameo Gallery with power anthems fueled by vocal and melodic theatrics. Front man Osborn took the stage with force, all band members instantly proving themselves vital to the composition. Drummer Zach Nicita and guitarist Adam Agati instantly left their mark, while the brass horn trio (Jake Handelman – Trombone, Adison Evans – Baritone Sax & Clarinet, and Chris Brouwers – Trumpet) and bassist Stu Mahan smoothly popped their way into the forefront with an exotic sensibility.

Nat Osborn Live review

Featuring new tune “Siren” off his forthcoming LP, Osborn showcased his full vocal range, as his soft voice lifted just above the careening arrangement—the horn section spitting a playful Eastern European melody reminiscent of Beirut. Osborn slurred into the microphone “You’re like an angel / Perfect to me / But angels are never / what you want them to be,” letting his voice reach its high register in the first of several vocal improvisations.

This proved to be the first time the audience saw the overt emotion in Osborn’s voice, the lyrics and movement leading him further into his “Siren” haze. Drummer Nicita followed with a syncopated forced tempo change, exposing further the importance of Osborn as composer to the pace and movement of each piece. Culminating in a roar of group vocals, “Siren” ended as an anthem, and was one of the strongest songs in the set.

Debuting new tune “Subterfuge” for the lucky crowd, Osborn further displayed the intricate balance between guitarist Agati and Nicita on drums. The focus pulled to Agati as he closed the tune with a guitar riff, leaving the crowd both impressed and hopeful for further accentuation. On “Little To The Left”, Osborn playfully complained about a “hardcore hippie vegan”, exposing his humor in addition to the wonderful pop-bluesy composition.

On fan favorite “Ritalin”, Osborn brought on stage old friend and frequent collaborator, folk musician Lyle Divinsky, to assist with dead-on soulful harmonies. Divinsky’s charisma and powerful croon matched Osborn’s own husky tenor brilliantly, and gave the close of the set a neighborhood feel.

The inability to label Osborn with any one specific genre lent greatly to his appeal—dramatic vocal runs, rolling exotic horn melodies, ghostly harmonies, and even blues fueled guitar binges; Osborn fit it all into his tightly packed arrangements.

With vocal theatrics likened to Muse, and playful horn runs à la Beirut, Osborn folded different genres into his compelling and whimsical repertoire. Clearly a natural talent with arrangement, Osborn certainly left his mark on Cameo.

Expect big things from this very talented musician and composer; and look for a new LP from Osborn out later this year.
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