Syracuse native Hamell is known around these parts
for his humor and charisma, and his biting commentary
on social and political issues, which are infused
into not only his songs, but his on-stage banter
as well. His most recent album’s title, Songs
for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs (which largely
featured Hamell’s toddler son, Detroit, both as
a character and guest vocalist), is indicative
of his sharp, direct sense of humor. That album—along
with his previous one, Tough Love—was released
on Ani DiFranco’s label, Righteous Babe Records.
Hamell is embarking on a new project over the
course of the next few weeks, during which he
will continue to polish his renowned act into
a one-man show that he eventually plans on taking
Capitol Grille co-owner Nick Ferrandino describes
Hamell’s performance as a one-man play with only
one prop: a guitar.
sort of has his show honed down to a 90-minute
thing,” Ferrandino says. “He incorporates his
songs into this thing and there’s a fair amount
of—for lack of better words—stand-up [comedy]
that he does with it.”
Hamell divides his time throughout the Northeast,
performing weekly dates in New York City, Philadelphia
and now Albany, among other places.
The last time that he played in town, Hamell stopped
in to the Capitol Grille to say hi to Ferrandino
and to check out his old friend’s new bar.
he was here,” Ferrandino says, “unbeknownst to
me, he was sort of casing the joint, too, he was
checking it out to see how it would fit.”
A small, intimate dining room in the back of the
Capitol Grille will serve as Hamell’s performance
space. There will be no stage, no mic, no amp.
. . . Hamell wants to create an intimate experience
for the audience.
Ferrandino points out that the show isn’t exactly
family-friendly—that a lot of Hamell’s material
is for, shall we say, mature audiences only. He
says that if Hamell’s show were a movie, it would
be rated NC-17.
Admission to Hamell on Trial’s Thursday night
shows is $8. You can call the Capitol Grille at
434-1616 ahead of time to reserve seating.