Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > Shows

Published: 2002/01/09
by Andy Bailey

ekoostik hookah, Promowest Pavilion, Columbus, Ohio- 12/31

Set One: Surround, Good Time (Merry-Go-Round), Moonstone, Ohio Grown, Deep
River Blues*, Walkin' Blues*, 2001

Set Two: Countdown, Auld Lang Syne, Time^, Chicago-> Hookahville-> Chicago,
Zimbabwe#, Seahorse, Find Out, Dumpster, Back in the Saddle Again, Lax,
Indica & Sativa-> Bottle of Wine-> Indica & Sativa, Only Falling, Life Is
Good, Dragonfly

E: Ecstasy@

*w/ Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady
^denotes 1st time played #w/ Sharon Katz on backup vocals
@w/ Shane Frye on auxiliary percussion
Acoustic Hot Tuna and Cowboy Angels opened

The evening began as my brother and I arrived at my friend's place for a
little pre-show get together. Soon, all seven of us piled into my '88 Ford
Country Squire station wagon (yes, it's the kind with wood paneling) and
were off to the Promowest Pavilion. It was like a family vacation only the
car ride was shorter. After a quick stop at the will-call booth, we
were on our way in.

As I walked into the venue I was greeted to the sight of familiar,
smiling faces. Hot Tuna (Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen) were already playing a
sweet "Hesitation Blues," which I had seen hookah's Steve Sweney play acoustic
(along with Hot Tuna's "Embryonic Journey") about a month ago.

It is always a treat to see Jorma Kaukonen perform. I had they privilege
of attending his Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp near Pomeroy, OH, a few years
back and it was quite the experience. Plus, all of Jorma's stories start out
like this: "I was sitting there with Jerry when Janis walked in and said
Crosby and Neil were having a party . . . ," but I digress. Jorma and Jack
were great, what more can I say?

After a short set break it was time for ekoostik hookah to take the
stage. Much discussion amongst my friends involved what the opener
might be and the band then decided for us and gave us "Surround," a tune I hadn't
heard in a while. A solid version was followed by "Good Times." While it seems
that I hear this song at just about every hookah show I go to, they never
cease to make it interesting. Tonight was no exception as just when things seemed familiar,
Sweney downshifted and took off. A gentle "Moonstone" slowed
things down a bit, and Dave Katz built on this mood by stepping away from keys,
to pick up the acoustic for "Ohio Grown." This love song for his
(and my) homeland is always a good song to play in Columbus.

Jack and Jorma then came out for "Deep River Blues," sung by Eric Lanese
with the improvised line, "Let the rain roll off my back, like my friends
Jorma and Jack." "Walking Blues" followed with Jorma on vocals. Jorma's
interplay with Steve and fellow guitarist Ed McGee was incredible but the real treat was the
thumping basses of Cliff Starbuck and Jack Casady. It reminded me of a steam
locomotive. The set closed with a "2001," which was sort of an obvious choice since it
was their last chance to play it in 2001, but a strong set closer. It was funky, but Sweney laid some
dissonant chords on top.

Hookah came out with about 5 minutes left to midnight, just to "listen
to us yell," as Dave Katz put it. The Countdown was complete with Johnny "Starcatt"
Polansky's video camera, balloons that refused to fall from the ceiling, and a giant,
champagne bottle-sized bottle of Heineken. The crowd screamed from
fifteen down to zero and then went nuts with the expected fervor and excitement.
But where was "Auld Lang Syne?" The boys picked up their instruments and "Auld
Lang Syne" became a rollicking country tune. I couldn't believe it but they really
made "Auld Lang Syne" sound good. After a brief pause, hookah kicked into an
amazing version of Pink Floyd's "Time." I thought it was the perfect song to
capture the essence of the New Year.

The pounding drum intro of "Chicago" came next and the explosion of the E to F# hammer-on confirmed it as a mighty holler echoed through the Pavilion.
"Chicago" segued into the classic "Hookahvile" and back into "Chicago." I have seen
this segue several times but this one had to be one of the best. The
transitions were seamless. Not giving the dancers a break, hookah went into
"Zimbabwe" with Sharon Katz coming out to add vocals mid-song. This was a tune I have missed recently and was glad to hear it. Next came the title song of hookah's new CD, Seahorse. This was my first time hearing it, as it had been played
rarely up until the CD was released. I was thrilled as the song incorporates many seemingly
disparate elements yet at its core still rocks.

The rest of the set was a mix of old and new. Following the funk of
"Dumpster" came the question, "Does anyone want to hear Cliff
yodel?" The audience responded in the affirmative as Cliff broke into "Back in the Saddle Again," an bluegrass tune featuring, you guessed it, Cliff's yodeling. The blessed weirdness and
reggae of "Lax" set the stage for "Indica & Sativa">"Bottle of Wine">"Indica &
Sativa," which sounded like a lot of people's plan for the evening. The set later closed
with a rather odd choice, "Dragonfly," which is normally an opener or second
song, but the boys delivered by taking this song further out than I had ever
heard it go before.

After a show like that, what do you encore with? hookah decided that it
would be "Ecstasy," which had me a little disappointed at first because I had
heard it as an encore recently. It still got me grooving, though, with
Shane Frye from the Shantee helping out on percussion. Ed
and Cliff seemed to be in rock star mode as they jumped off the speakers on
either side of the stage at the end of the song.

As my six friends and myself worked our way out of the venue we talked
about the show and what we liked, the usually post-show discussions. There
were two things that kept coming up. One is that Sweney was on fire, and
when Steve is on fire, all of hookah smokes. The other is that after seeing
ekoostik hookah so many times, one would think that one would start to
anticipate what they might do. Yet, thankfully, they keep surprising.

Show 0 Comments