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Ryanhood at the All Asia Café—Saturated Sounds in New Surroundings

CAMBRIDGE, MA.-June 19—The expanse of Massachusetts Avenue between M.I.T. and Central Square is an array of weather worn manufacturing buildings of yesteryear alongside other comparatively unfashionable enterprises.  The All Asia Café sits on the far north edge of this stretch.  Mass Ave. doesn’t become au courant, chic, or all-out urban for another block.  In time, this establishment could be the catalyst for expanding Cambridge’s panache that much further south on this major by-way.

Other clubs in and around Central Square, such as Middle East and TT the Bears, are landmark venues for fledgling original musicians and bands.  The All Asia Café is a relative newcomer with much potential and promise, and eventually will equal its Central Square brethren in prestige and influence.

Saturday, June 19 found Ryan Green and Cameron Hood scheduled to appear at the Café as guests of another act, Infinite Frequencies, which features musicians rumored to be working with Ryan and Cameron on the recording of their second CD.  They are fabulous players.

Being “guests” always means you’ll hear a truncated set, and this night was no exception.  Ryanhood’s set consisted of five songs.  The quantity may have been in short supply but surely not the quality.  Ryanhood inundated the Café with their perfect synergy of vocal harmony and highly skilled playing, producing sounds akin to a full band.  In fact, Ryanhood indeed augmented their duo format on one song to include a bona fide rhythm section.

Ryanhood devotees were treated to something much different than their usual set.  It began with their signature opener, “Oh No,” with a smooth transition to a new Cameron Hood composition, “Gardens and the Graves.”  The set continued with two Ryanhood crowd-pleasers, the as-yet-unavailable “Welcome Into My Head” and “Rosemary.”  The forthcoming CD tentatively titled Forward promises to be a formidable step forward in terms of power and energy as compared to their beautiful but relatively tranquil first CD, Sad and Happiness.

The set ended on a rare note for Ryanhood.  Another yet-to-be-released set staple, “Army,” was performed with the able assistance of Infinite Frequencies bassist and drummer, Josh Johnson and Jordan Lipp, respectively.  Performing this hitherto energetic song within the framework of a full band brought it to a fever pitch.  Other bands beware; Ryanhood is capable of rocking out with the best of you.

Ryanhood’s spirited set was immediately followed by Infinite Frequencies’ unique blend of funk and jazz-tinged power pop.  Singer/guitarist Ian Wilkerson and keyboardist (Dr.) Jon Altman round out this promising quartet, and it was hard to fathom that this was just their second performance.  They are certainly a band worth watching out for.


Ryanhood never falls short of converting unacquainted listeners as fans and potential enlistees in The Ryanhood Army.  Two young women waited for an extended period of time after Infinite Frequencies’ set for Cameron Hood to reappear in the club to tell him how much Ryanhood’s performance moved them.  Cameron has otherworldly sense about what to say to listeners between songs and how to say it.  Other bands and musicians can learn much from observing this relatively young but wise artist.  His presence resonates with audiences, as does the combined sounds of him and his magnificently talented partner Ryan Green.

I have already witnessed it time and again.

David D.