I will never forget the first time I saw Stephen Bluhm perform. It was one of those “wow” moments that sticks with you. He did a short set opening for Future Bible Heroes at Helsinki Hudson. He appeared by himself, backed by a boombox (aha, I thought – very David Byrne). But the sound that came out of his mouth, and the big music that he had behind him – I thought, why is this incredible entertainer just a shy guy who you often see around town if you spend any time walking up and down Warren Street?
Well, much to my surprise, it turned out that Bluhm hadn’t even yet released an album. But now, his long overdue debut is coming out, and he’s celebrating its release with a self-described “night of dancey, melodic and lyric-driven synth pop” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, September 17, at 8pm. Joining Stephen will be a slew of regional musicians, including Brian Dewan and Andrew & the Jennifers.
One of the things I love about Stephen is how he transforms from a relatively self-effacing, modest man-about-town into a guy who was seemingly born to command a stage. Check him out in this video from that fateful opening set for Future Bible Heroes, where he croons, dances, and delivers his songs right in the moment – not something you see everyone do.
Obvious reference points are Morrissey, David Bowie, and the aforementioned Byrne, but
Bluhm draws inspiration from all over the musical map. The results can sound like power pop, disco, musical theater, or 1980s synth-pop, all united by melodic and lyrical crooning.
Among his favorite artists Bluhm counts an eclectic mix, including Stephen Sondheim, Burt Bacharach, the Beach Boys, OMD, Erasure, and ABBA.
An engaging performer who loves dancing with the audience, Bluhm has been writing and performing for over 10 years. Bluhm has graced the stage of Helsinki Hudson a great many times; he hosted Helsinki’s weekly open-mic when the club first opened.