/ Flamenco and Electric Sitar Guitarist
August 25, 2008
Written and Photographed
by Angelo Rivera
Photo: Rob Mastrianni and Pete List
I first caught Rob
Mastrianni performing in the Grand Central shuttle
pathway a couple of days prior to his Mercury Lounge
performance. Realizing how soothing his intricate
guitar play was, I decided to attend his show.
When I first arrived at the Lounge, I did not immediately
think, “Ah, Morocco!” It was more of
a dive; some East Village type woman was collecting
eight dollars at the door and there were plastic
beer cups strewn in front of the stage. Also not
so promising was the fact that there were only twenty-five
people in the club; perhaps this guy wasn’t
going to be “all that.”
But then Rob Mastrianni appeared on stage with
his two smoking guns and a guy introduced as the
Human Beat Box (Pete List). Rob began the show by
ever so delicately strumming and plucking a Catalan
sound. A flash back to the eighties hit me as the
background guttural be-bop vocal sounds of Pete
List slowly began to take me to Morocco.
The band’s mix of guitar, sitar and be-bop
background (known as psychedelic gypsy punk) entered
a whimsical place in my head and took me back to
the part of my life where everything was done inside
a giant mushroom cloud of smoke.
As I was dreaming, basking with a hookah and sipping
dark tea, from the corner of my eye I saw a vision
of beauty. Irina Akulenko was dancing, sensually
gyrating from head to toe. Her persuasive hand movements
were part Middle Eastern and part urban flamenco.
I was taken for an unforgettable eight dollar ride.