The L. Cool Trio: New York’s New Year’s Encore
On January 1, three-high profile Empire State New Year’s concerts converged at New York’s The Knitting Factory. The debut performance by The L. Cool Trio, an offshoot of trance-fusion supergroup Laverneus Cool, The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein , The New Deal’s Jamie Shields, and The Duo’s Joe Russo played an improv-heavy show which nodded to each musician’s patented sound. During its second set, The L. Cool Trio expanded to a quartet, as Mike Gordon joined in for a series of instrumental jams. Having closed out a tour with Russo’s The Duo a few hours earlier, Gordon flexed his own versatility, leaving bass duties to Brownstein and instead playing a Languedoc electrc guitar.
In certain respects, The L. Cool Trio’s show served as a collective encore for New York’s festivities. On New Year’s Eve, The Disco Biscuits closed out 2004 with Sam Altman’s perhaps final stateside performances behind the drum kit. With tickets selling out in advance, the Friday evening show served as a fitting swan song, as fans hung a sign reading ‘We’ll Miss You Sammy’ over the Hammerstein Ballroom’s mezzanine. In lieu of a New Years spectacle, as is Bisco custom, the group weaved a continuous New Year’s theme into their second set, counting down 2005 with a confetti-bolstered ‘Save the Robots’ and inserting ‘Happy New Year’s’ lyrics into ‘Helicopters.’ Clocking in at over an hour, the group’s three-song third set stretched cuts like ‘Magellan,’ ‘Frog Legs’ and ‘Crickets’ to their breaking points. Bringing their holiday run full circle, The Disco Biscuits closed with ‘Hope,’ the number they opened with five shows, and four cities, earlier.
Eight blocks away, The Benevento/Russo Duo also closed out its first tour with Mike Gordon at BB King’s Blues Club with a late-night set that kicked off at 2:30AM. In between cuts from The Duo’s forthcoming Rope-a-Dope release, and scattered covers, Gordon also included several Phish compositions, including ‘Foam,’ ‘Cars, Trucks, and Buses,’ and a crowd-enhanced ‘Mike’s Song.’ The bassist also nodded to his solo project, offering an instrumental reading of ‘The Beltless Buckler.’ Regular Duo collaborator Scott Metzger (RANA) joined in the fray for an extended encore: a medley of Led Zeppelin staples. A night earlier, Page McConnell also paid the group a visit at Burlington’s Higher Ground, performing on his own ‘Cars, Trucks, and Buses.’