He's the son of pop legend Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkel fame. But Harper Simon is making his own way in the music business.
"Sometimes, we'll talk about music, not so much the band," the 31-year-old lead guitarist told Lowdown about his dad, after his group, Menlo Park, wowed the Tuesday night crowd at Tonic. "We don't talk about it that much really. He has seen us play in London."
Simon, whose mother is Peggy Harper, is a newcomer to the London-based fivesome, and the show in the tiny downtown club was Menlo Park's American debut.
"It's great to come over here - to make a little splash," he said. "We've got an audience in London. But it's hard to make that happen here on your first show. I write for the band. Everyone writes some things. I sort of have a kind of Keith Richards role, in that I play guitar and sing harmonies."
Their style is eclectic - variously described as "hip-hop country," "voodoo folk" and "bar mitzvah cabaret."
Along with members Chris Taylor, John Greswell, Ben Nicholls and Sebastian Rochford, Simon wears a suit jacket - stylized and theatrical. Taylor, the lead singer, wore a tight, foppish ensemble and punctuated his riffs by having what looked like a seizure. Martha Wainwright and her famous brother, Rufus, also performed. The perversely delighted audience included Sean Lennon.
"That was a surprise - I hadn't seen him in a really long time," Simon said. "We've known each other a long time. We've known each other since we were kids."