Photos by Chris Besaw
Review by Kelly Besaw
Hammel on Trial returned to Syracuse’s 443 Social Club to this past Wednesday to play a second sold-out show for his hometown that included an intimate segment titled “The Syracuse Stories.” Hamell is on the road wrapping up what he has dubbed the “Lucky You” tour before he kicks off the “Hamell and Son Graduation” tour in June. Hamell played the 443 Social Club May 6, where he debuted the “Syracuse Stories.” That show sold out in less than 24 hours. Due to high demand, he added the May 17 date which also sold out quickly.
If you were lucky enough to grab a ticket to one of the shows, you were treated to an evening of heartfelt storytelling, dirty jokes, “dad jokes,” political commentary, and songs played by one of the meanest guitarists I have ever seen. The first segment of the show, was aptly titled “The Syracuse Stories.” Ed Hamell, a Syracuse native, told stories of how he got started in music, his first band The Works, working as a truck driver, working as a bartender, and those he loved and those he lost along the way. Each story was brought to life by a song or two before moving on to the next chapter. I thought it was well-written, honest, incredibly intimate, at times hilarious with moments of heartbreak. I hope that Ed is considering releasing “The Syracuse Stories.” Maybe in a live format? Although the stories revolve around his time in Syracuse, the people, situations, and observations are relatable to anyone who is a fan of Hamell on Trial.
Between sets, was a comedic interlude featuring Hamell’s son Detroit. Detroit had just graduated from Pace University, over the weekend. My favorite joke that Detroit shared was, “So, I wore a red shirt when I went to Target this week, long story short, I am covering for Debbie this weekend.” Best of luck to Detroit as he continues his master’s program at NYU this fall. The father and son duo sang a song together which was impressive before Ed finished off the evening with a handful of hard-hitting tunes.
If you have never seen Hamell on Trial before, you should listen to it before attending a live show. It is not for everyone. For those of us who do get it, we love you Ed and hope to see you back in Syracuse in November for your eighth sold out show at the 443 Social Club. You can still catch Ed and Detroit on the “Hamell and Son Graduation” tour this summer. Check out the photo gallery.