Mike Gordon Closes Solo Tour with Special Guests, Summer Variety Show
The last few nights of Mike Gordons solo tour proved to be particularly eventful. On Thursday, Gordon hosted an event billed as Mike Gordons Magic Hat Summer Variety Show at Chicagos Park West. The multi-part performance turned out to be a recreation of the story that inspired Andelmans’ Yard, one of The Green Sparrows standout tracks. Gordon and his band used the tune as the evenings structural nuts-and-bolts, segueing in and out of the Andelmans’ Yard throughout his two electric and one acoustic sets. A number of other colorful characters also took the stage with Gordon throughout his fairy tale, including stilt dancers, spinners, jugglers, acrobatic dancers and a plate spinner. The show also featured a shadow puppet show and an appearance by Chicago hula hoop instructor Dizzy Lizzy. Andelmans Yard is one of the few songs on The Green Sparrow that finds Gordon playing most instruments himself.
It took two straight months of working every day, all day on weekdays, and it came together in a really organic way, Gordon said about the song a recent site interview. A lot of the parts were got at by jamming on a given instrument and then picking out my favorite parts and writing them in. So even though I was a perfectionist for two months, it had an organic sound and in the end the combination just sounded right to me. I realized theres no way I would rerecord it because it wouldnt sound as good. We tried as we did on Another Door to add real drums, instead of the synthetic drums of which there is more than one track. The real drummers did a great job but we ended up liking the fake drums more.
The festivities continued Friday at Clevelands Beachland Ballroom when Gordon invited out his opening act Freekbass for C and C Music Factorys Things that Make you go Hmm and Phishs Meat. Though the sit in marked the first time the musicians have shared the stage, the former Phish bassist appears on Freekbass Junkyard Waltz along with Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Buckethead, Jen Durkin and Mike Dillon, among others.
On Saturday Gordon reunited with Phish at Brad Sands wedding and, last night, the bassist closed out his solo tour with an appearance at Bostons Paradise. Gordons percussionist Craig Myers opened the evening with his other band Rubblebucket and latter brought out Rubblebucket bandleader/trumpeter Alex Toth, Rubblebucket/John Browns Bodys saxophonist Kalmia Traver and Easy Star All-Stars saxophonist Jenny Hill for Gordons ‘Radar Blip.’ The improvisational vehicle finds Gordon teaching the audience a variety of hand signals which they can then use to decide which musician leads the bands jams at any given moment. In addition, the bassists Ramble Dove associate Neil Cleary, whose brother Tom plays keyboards in Gordons band, sang on I Got Loaded.
Though Gordon is currently off the road, Freekbass will appear at Lakewood, OHs Winchester Music Hall and Erie, PAs Docksiders this weekend, while Rubblebucket will appear at State College, PAs Zenos this Thursday.