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Music on Trial: Heartwork Yoga collaborates with The Chapel

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Portland-based band Musée Mécanique played at Heartwork Yoga on Thursday, Oct. 30 to a small but intimate audience. The concert combined the best of two worlds: Mike Morris, owner of The Chapel, booked the band and Heartwork Yoga Studio provided heating, low-light ambience, hot tea, blankets and an excuse not to wear shoes. The audience quietly shuffled into one of the yoga studios in socks and scarves on a chilly and blustery day to listen to the music.

The show started late after a modest gathering of about 15 people settled down on the floor with yoga blankets, pillows and complementary tea. Normally, Musée Mécanique is made up of more than six members, but they were only traveling with three. While the room would not have suited the full band, it proved a great physical space for Musée Mécanique’s acoustic guitar, synth and glockenspiel lineup on Thursday night. The band played an hour of music, mostly from its recently released nautically-themed concept album “From Shores of Sleep.”

The band is currently touring with a smaller number of members to reimagine and rearrange its music for limited personnel. Heartwork Yoga Studio provided an atmosphere that matched these goals. The music itself was robustly arranged, with synth pads floating in and out of harmonica and banjo lines. It remained very centered around the singer-with-acoustic-guitar folk aesthetic. Many self-defined soft rock fans there are so many in the Upper Midwest would find their tastes perfectly at home with Musée Mécanique. There is an element of escapism in hearing any live music, but in some cases these circumstances overpower the performance.

Although the music was nuanced and well-performed, my friends and I found the cozy atmosphere a little too comfortable and struggled to remain awake between the quiet and calm music, hot tea and the warm yoga studio.

Usually Thursday night shows, after the stress and rigor of the week, are a personal favorite. But with this past week’s colder temperatures and crazy schedule, Musée Mécanique’s chilled-out singer-songwriter vibe couldn’t keep my energy up.

I look forward to hearing the band again under different circumstances and grabbing its album when its Square-card reader works.

carlsonj@stolaf.edu