In the early part of the decade, Brothers Past/American Babies guitarist Tom Hamilton and Disco Biscuits keyboardist Aron Magner frequently played an acoustic show around the holidays. The musicians revived the tradition this past Tuesday with a stripped down night of music at Philadelphia’s Johnny Brenda’s. Hamilton and Magner kicked off the evening with acoustic versions of the Brothers Past’s “Simple Gift of Man,” the Disco Biscuits’ “Plan B,” American Babies’ “Swimming at Night,” the Disco Biscuits’ “Unspoken Rhyme” and the Disco Biscuits’ “Soul is Shaking.”
Soon after, Tom Hamilton’s brother Jim, a founding member of both American Babies and Brothers Past, emerged to play bass on “Flowers Don’t Grow in the Moonlight.” Drummer Eric Slick, who plays with Adrien Belew and on occasion with American Babies, joined the three musicians for a selection of covers and originals: the Grateful Dead’s “Cassidy,” American Babies’ “Invite Your Friends,” Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” American Babies’ “Weight Of the World,” a string-laced version of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?,” The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog,” Brothers Past’s “Leave the Light On” and John Lennon’s take on “Stand By Me.” The set closed with a complete take on the second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road that featured a horn section. The musicians returned to the stage for another Beatles tune, “In My Life,” and, finally, a cover of The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”
The show will be Jim Hamilton’s last performance for over a year. Hamilton, who serves in the armed services, is being assigned to duty in Afghanistan on January 2, 2010.