Andrew Horowitz ignoring the risk of his saxophone ‘acid bleeding’ as he helps raise the doctor-heavy band to heavenly musical heights. GPSpeak editor Robin Osborne profiles the increasingly popular Acid Bleed.

While the name of the band may appear to reference the medical profession, and three of its members are practising clinicians, the term ‘acid bleed’ has nothing to do with doctoring.

In fact the bleeding in question refers to the residual solder flux that is insufficiently rinsed off brass instruments such as saxophones and trumpets before their lacquer is applied.

Over time – I am informed by online bloggers who discuss such things – “this material diffuses from the joint, causing the brass to corrode and this, in turn, causes a failure of lacquer adhesion (why the lacquer flakes off)...”

Fortunately, this occupational hazard has not impacted on the many sounds that founding member Andrew Horowitz can extract from his saxophone, one of the instruments that this talented musician (and fulltime prosecution lawyer) has mastered.

His proficiency with the violin is the result of learning it from the age of 6 to 13, by when he judged it as “not particularly cool” and abandoned it for some years. In such dexterous hands the instrument gives the band an expanded repertoire, which includes Django Reinhardt influences, and enhances their appeal.

Fortunately, too, the band does not bear the moniker of the rock group he played with in Sydney years ago – the Dry Wretches.

Formed in mid-2009 in collaboration with local GP Jimmy Chiu, a handy guitarist [but not a high-end women’s shoe designer] who shares Horowitz’s love for jazz, gypsy swing and good music generally, the band has developed into an in-demand outfit that plays local venues such as Tatts Hotel and the Lismore Jazz Club, and private functions [for Acid Bleed booking inquiries call 6628 3537].

Present band members are Horowitz and Chiu, cardiologist Adam Blenkhorn (guitar), psychiatrist Harry Freeman (keyboards, sometimes programmed as a vibraphone), police prosecutor Peter Costin-Nielsen (drums), and retired sound engineer Josh Kirk (bass).

David Moore, a GP now living in Sydney, is a former band member, while the current vocalist is Gerry Loong, far more than a ‘token female’ who rounds out the ensemble with great talent and elan.

Along with gypsy swing and a range of jazz styles, the band plays original tunes, many penned by Dr Chiu, as well as tackling the blues and songs from the contemporary songbook by the likes of Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.

While they’re not about to give up their day jobs, the ‘Acid Bleeders’ never fail to receive praise for their performances, and not just because their gigs are, in the main, free of charge to audiences.

Hearing them elevates the spirit and puts a spring in your step, making these dedicated part-time musicians truly deserving of the term ‘living local treasures’.

* The good news is that you don’t have to attend a local venue to hear Acid Bleed, as a sampling of their tunes – including a take on Van Morrison’s classic Moondance - can be accessed online at Soundcloud

Like any good band, however, they are best experienced live, with the next opportunity to attend a local gig being on Thurs 30 January 2014 at Tatts Hotel in Lismore’s Keen Street. The following one is at the same venue on Thurs 27 Feb. Both gigs are free, start at 6.00 pm, feature two sets and end not-late. Good food and snacks are available, and local parking is easy.