BAAM at The Gem Presents Cold Chocolate Thursday, March 9th at 7:00 pm.
Cold Chocolate is a genre-bending Americana band that fuses folk, funk, and bluegrass to create a unique sound all their own. Featuring Ethan Robbins on guitar and Ariel Bernstein on percussion, this group from Boston is impressing audiences throughout New England and beyond. Punctuated by tight harmonies and skillful musicianship, Cold Chocolate has quickly gained recognition for their original music and high-energy shows. The band has shared bills with Leftover Salmon, David Grisman, and Angelique Kidjo, and regularly performs at venues and music festivals across the country.
Simon Waxman of The Boston Review, writes that Cold Chocolate “sounds softer than the dew on the mountainside, harder than a Harley pushing back red dust, sweeter than true love.” John Lawless of Bluegrass Today offered that “the band’s approach is decidedly modern, with as much an influence from folk and swing as from hard-driving bluegrass.”
Robbins began his bluegrass career at Oberlin College, where he started to explore how this hard-driving fast-paced genre could be stretched. A classical violinist from age four, he fell in love with the guitar when he turned fourteen and his father bought him five quintessential albums: The Band’s Music from Big Pink, Bob Dylan’s Bringing it all Back Home, John Hartford’s Steam Powered Aereo-plane, Hank Williams Live at the Grand Ole Opry, and the Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead. Ever since, Robbins has attempted to bring those raw, rootsy sounds into his own original material.
In 2012, Robbins met percussionist Bernstein at a mutual friend’s gig in Boston. Like Robbins, Bernstein also studied classical percussion in college before moving to the drum set. A master of restraint, the loose-wristed Bernstein brings a light and tasteful groove to Cold Chocolate’s tunes, filling out their sound and heightening the band’s live energy. In addition to playing in Cold Chocolate, Bernstein can be found as a sideman with Ray LaMontagne, as well as working on the records of some of the scene’s finest acoustic musicians at his own Honey Pot Studios.
As for the band’s intriguing name and the story behind it, “it came from a childhood memory of mine,” says Robbins. “When my brothers and I used to visit my Grandfather in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, the whole drive there from D.C. we’d be in the backseat talking about the frozen Milky Way bars that awaited us in his freezer. I still remember pulling into his driveway after a six-hour drive. He’d come out to meet us–arms wide open for a hug–and the three of us would shoot right past him, headed straight for the freezer, where awaited us the King Size Milky Way Bars. So, in some ways, I dedicate the band name to my Grandfather’s memory.”
Doors at 6:00 pm
Show at 7:00 pm
Tickets are “Pay What You Can” with proceeds benefiting BAAM.