Words by Michael J. Bultman | Photos by Joe Russo
Williamsburg, Brooklyn – As is tradition in Williamsburg, the young, hip, and unwashed come out only after the sun goes down, the lights come on, and the music begins to play. On this night, however, their washcloth-wary predecessors have already punched their tickets to see jam band legend and Phish bassist Mike Gordon at Pete Shapiro’s famous Brooklyn Bowl; to steal a line, “I’m stuck in a city when I belong in a field.”
Thankfully, the roller rink sized dance floor of the Brooklyn Bowl provides enough space for all demographics. With 30 foot ceilings, visible wooden rafters, and of course the constant sound of crashing pins from the lanes just a Frisbee throw away, those who are used to the grassy knolls of the festivals most jam bands frequent felt at home in the cozy venue as Mike Gordon and the band began the first of show of their two night stay in Brooklyn.
Touring in support of his recent album, Moss, Gordon lead an outstanding band of musicians including Scott Murawski on guitar, Tom Cleary on keyboards, Todd Isler on drums, and Craig Myers on percussion. The quintet wasted no time before giving the crowd what it needed, a cool 10-minute jam following the very first chorus of “Idea”, a featured track on the album. Beginning with Cleary, dancing side to side on his stool sliding between grand to Hammond in the speakers, the band each played a brief solo highlighted by Gordon’s doodle-bop-slapping, bringing the boys right back into another verse.
Before the 1st set was through Murawski took over lead vocals for Talking Heads hit “Cities”, replacing the lyrics about Birmingham with some drawn up special for Williamsburg. Gordon then explained how his 2 year-old likens the speeding cars on the highway to his fast-paced music before launching into a up-tempo cover of Beck’s “Black Tambourine”.
During the 2nd set Gordon alerted the audience to the time signature in the next song and offered a dance competition to any who could groove in 7/8. 4 brave constants were brought up on stage separately out of the audience to try their hips out alongside the band in true, impromptu jam band style.
Mike Gordon and the band are off to Virginia next week for one last stateside show before heading to Holland for a string of European tour dates.
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