Words and photos: Stephanie Connell
On Wednesday, March 8, Felix Martin and his band entered the ballroom at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy in Pittsburgh. The James Street Speakeasy is a unique venue. It has a jazzy, 1920s prohibition feel. The ballroom itself, complete with a small bar and a man painting in the corner, felt more relaxed than I expected. The venue had a formal, historic air mixing with today’s informal culture.
It was the perfect setting for Felix Martin, and his band (bassist Killian Duarte and drummer Victor Alvarez).
I have had minimal experience with musicians who play specialized guitars. Most of my experience included very traditional sounds. It had never crossed my mind that a guitar with more than six strings would be used for heavy metal. Felix Martin greatly raised my expectations of this type of music. His music has a heavier sound than I expected.
The band had a very positive attitude throughout the show. Some technical difficulties stopped the show for a few minutes, and, even then, the group smiled and laughed. The songs they played included Cardboard Roofs and Flashback. Felix Martin left the crowd smiling and excited for the headliner for the night, Consider the Source.
FELIX MARTIN is a Venezuelan guitarist who is pioneering a style of playing the electric guitar by performing simultaneously with two of them as if they were one, creating a new sound on the instrument.
Felix is pushing music into new boundaries by mixing Rock and Metal with different styles such as Jazz, Progressive, World, Latin, Fusion, etc. The uniqueness of his guitars and technique allows him to create distinguished sounds that makes the music sound unique.
Felix has toured with his band that includes Berklee Alumni drummers and bassist Kilian Duarte throughout the USA, Europe and South America. Played in festivals such as Progressive Nation, SXSW, Euroblast, Tech-Fest and many more.
Felix uses his self-designed 14 and 16-string guitars, which are two regular guitars in one, in a way never seen or heard before. This opens up a new and hidden world for the electric guitar and instrumental music. Felix pioneered this style of playing at the age of 13, and as of 2014, he remains the only one in the world who plays this way (Felix Martin Facebook).