Courtesy of Dave Hoffenberg
BRIAN BLUMENTHAL a.k.a. “BLOOMER”
Brian Blumenthal makes his long awaited return to Mogul Sports Pub this Saturday at 6 p.m. for one night only. Blumenthal, or Bloomer as he is better known, is excited to be back playing in Killington as this is one of his favorite places to play. He first started playing in town back in 2003 with his younger brother Alan as part of their duo group and they played for three seasons doing apres-ski at the Wobbly Barn. Bloomer is calling this show his “Not Apres-Ski Show” so it doesn’t matter if there’s snow on the mountain or not because Bloomer is coming up to entertain you with all the best tunes.
Bloomer has been performing for 17 years now and very much enjoys what he does. Although the show will be solo, Bloomer can also be a duo, trio and all the way up to a six piece band. The music he plays is acoustic arrangements of popular tunes that span six decades. Bloomer is a singer/guitarist and his role changes depending on what format he does. When he performs solo like this Saturday, he plays with a looping station that allows him to add percussion, bass lines and backing vocals. It makes him like a one-man band, but he wants to point out it is not karaoke so please don’t confuse that. Bloomer says, “Looping is not karaoke. First of all, it takes a lot of time to do looping and I’m doing all this with just an acoustic guitar. I’m adding all those layers and all those different instruments with just really an acoustic guitar. Karaoke is singing over a pre-recorded track, which is a big difference.”
His forte is entertaining the crowd and playing music that people enjoy. Looping is all the rage right now for guitarists but Bloomer has been doing his loop show for about seven years. It allows him to change the arrangement of the song as he sees fit and he likes making his own versions of songs. Bloomer says, “It makes it so much more entertaining for me as a musician as opposed to just playing a stripped down acoustic song. This allows me to add layers to the song which makes it more exciting.” The regular version of a song is fine, and he can still do that, but this adds more dynamic to a song. “You can bring the listener right along with you and compose the song right in front of them.” He’s seen some people drag out a loop that goes a little too long. He likes to build his loop quickly and just play it. He splits it 50/50 with looping and straight up playing the songs. If he plays as a duo or a bigger band, there is no need for the loop. As he says, “Why should I play other people’s instruments for them?” The new song, or old song remixed, that he loves to play right now is “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield because he has a really good loop in it that he does. “I’m doing it because it’s a fun loop and I arranged it in a reggae style. There’s a bunch of dead space in that song that I filled up with with reggae so it’s really cool.”
Bloomer’s musical influences vary, as it really just depends on what he’s listening to at the moment and what is influencing the music that he arranges. He’s a huge fan of Foster the People as he likes what they do. “As I’m learning a new song and learning a technique from the band, every time I play a song from that artist that I’ve never played before, that is an influence to me. Pop culture has been influencing me quite a bit lately, but rock and reggae are the genres I like the most.”
Bloomer got started in this business because he really likes to sing. Later, he added guitar to go along with vocals. “I really wanted to perform music. The first music I learned to play was Cat Stevens and James Taylor and that was even dated back then,” he says laughing. “Those songs were great to play on acoustic guitar and that was the beginning of the playing for me.”
Bloomer was the first one to play music. [His brother] Alan followed in his footsteps about six months later. A year later, they had their first gig together at Boppers in Danbury, Conn. The year was 1998, and they got paid $200 to do the gig. Bloomer was ecstatic—he couldn’t believe they paid them to play music! It was new to them, and very exciting to be able to perform for people and get paid for it. From there, most of the gigs that Bloomer played where as a duo with Alan. He still did a few solo gigs, but he had way more fun playing with his brother. He said they are better together.
Bloomer enjoys every place that he plays but some of his favorites over the years have been the Beach Bar in St. John (Virgin Islands) and the Wobbly Barn right here in Killington. Kenny Chesney wrote his last album about the Beach Bar. “Since I played there and we both played on the same PA and on the same stage, that’s pretty cool to me,” Bloomer exclaims. “The world famous Wobbly Barn is always a blast. I’ve had some of my favorite times playing in Killington at the Wobbly. Killington is such a great vibe, the people are always so happy. They mostly come up from Boston and New York and they are on vacation so they’re always happy. The positive vibe there is great. I enjoy snowboarding on the hill and the food is great everywhere. Besides the cost of drinks being ridiculous — haha — there’s always great music up there. If you’re going to be cold you might as well be cold together with good people.”