- Live at the Gothic Theatre- Steve Kimock Band
At the 2002 Gathering of the Vibes I asked Steve Kimock what he liked most about playing summer music festivals. He took a long pause, tilted his head upwards and smiled: "That music is in the air," he replied.
That music is in the air! So disregard my upcoming comments about the boring camera work and lackluster cinematography that dogs the Steve Kimock Band’s first DVD release, Live at the Gothic Theatre. Because it doesn’t matter. The disc sounds fantastic and the music itself is crackling. Sure, the picture isn’t much to look at, the camera work is elementary, and the editing is sluggish. For once we’ll make exception and let it slide and it won’t even be for bullshit reasons. Kimock is too much of a purist for bullshit.
That’s not to say that the film aspect is intentionally dull. All we know is that the audio track is deliberately superior and the music itself is both psychedelic and uplifting. All of this is very typical of the Kimock camp, almost to the point of being reassuring in its consistency.
Likewise, the included bonus footage mostly centers around Kimock showing off a few choice items from his guitar collection, discussing each instrument’s history and how they came into his possession. Kimock’s mannerisms are charming in their boyish innocence, and because of their unfashionable enthusiasm some of his comments very nearly sound as if they were lifted from a Christopher Guest parody. Except that Kimock’s storytelling is unabashedly sincere.
As is the music. In line with the "Kimock Principle," the music is heavily improvisational and everything from Kimock’s whims to serious discoveries is supported by an outstanding band. This particular line-up features Alphonso Johnson on bass, Rodney Holmes on drums, Mitch Stein on guitar, and Jim Kost on keys. You know, good players.
Further undermining my criticism of the filmmaking, the audio on this disc far surpasses its peers. Recorded on 12/31/03 by Evan Crown with a custom rig that was previously only used by Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and James Brown, Crown has obviously shifted the focus of the DVD format from the visual to the sonic. That is, he has engineered a disc that arguably sounds better than it looks. At 235 minutes in length, fans should think of this DVD as a sort of next-generation live album, but not necessarily a concert film.
And so it is that we’re letting the Steve Kimock Band off the hook for this one. After all, they never really cared to make a music video. All they really want to do is play; and all you really need to do is listen.