By all accounts, Ellis Ludwig-Leone is the “leader” of San Fermin, who played the Bluebird Theater Wednesday night. He is the creative force behind the band, writing the songs and laying the framework for three albums of beautiful and touching orchestral pop.
But, you wouldn’t know it based on the live show. Standing in the corner, while the lights shine on his bandmates, Ludwig-Leone seems content to stay in the shadows. He has a microphone, but it’s used only to thank fans for their applause, introduce the other members of the eight-piece and for sparse banter.
It’s easy to overlook Ludwig-Leone amongst the rest of the impressive players on stage. Listening to the records, one could be forgiven for thinking that Allen Tate with his ever-present rich, baritone vocals is the superstar in San Fermin. And with his casual almost slow-motion swagger, Tate cuts quite a presence on stage and plays a good frontman. He shares vocal duties with the equally captivating Charlene Kaye who moves around the stage more frenetically than Tate and provides a solid counter-balance.
There’s also saxophonist Stephen Chen, John Brandon on trumpet, Claire Wellin on violin, Tyler McDiarmid on guitar and Michael Hanf on drums. Oh, and Ludwig-Leone on keys. Everyone has their time in the spotlight (minus Ludwig-Leone), trading off solos and center stage duties. It’s an egalitarian set-up highlighting the talents of all over the ego of one.
The band played several cuts from their 2017 album Beyond including "Better Company" and "Cairo." They explored past albums Jack Rabbit (2015) and their eponymous 2013 debut while also treating the subdued yet rapt crowd to a Beyond B-side, "Asleep on the Train." San Fermin's current tour is their second twenty-something city tour of 2017.