Steve Kimock Band, Waterloo Vilage, Stanhope, NJ
The venue at Waterloo Village is an oddly drab, monotone circus tent, housing row upon row of folding chairs, tucked away to the side of an old Revolutionary War era historic site. Walking around the environs surrounding the Big Top, it was immediately apparent that many, many generations of people had trod those very same pathways- the patterns created by thousands of feet, separated only by time, seemed to draw people into them. The few hundred who came for the show stalked them in a sort of manic daze- people aimlessly strolled about before the opening set and throughout all the breaks. But more than strolling, they move in clusters and groups, like twigs caught in a stream, some spilling off to linger at the gazebo or eddy in the gardens, but everyone moving, moving, moving. There was definitely a very strange energy present (maybe it came from the old cemetery and church a hundred yards or so opposite the stage), and it was only amplified with the setting sun and the onset of cold, damp air. Garaj Mahal, who opened the event, played an extremely frantic set to a slowly growing crowd. Fareed clenched his fist agonizingly during Poodle Factory, crying, "Has anyone seen my poodle?" and the intensity actually drove me out from under the tent where the sound was cleaner and clearer. Steve joined the band (including former band mate Alan Hertz) for its closer, Madagascar, adding nice slide color, but no fireworks. Keyboardist Eric Levy would later join Kimock’s quartet for Arf, She Cried to better results.
When SKB hit the stage, however, they filled the space with warm, soothing sounds, shaping Ice Cream Factory, a tune replete with its own memories of the Wetlands, where it was composed. The music was full and Steve had pushed a solo, and the whole movement, to a point where it seemed it could climb no higher when he hit a strange line, perilously balanced, stringing banners from the towering parapets- and the power went out! The crowd exploded and Rodney just kept on chugging, tearing into his kit with a solo that needed no amplification. After a couple of minutes the power returned and the band effortlessly slid back into the final stages of the song- amazing. There was much more music to come, much of it excellent in its rendering, but what you need to know is that on a supremely strange evening, when ghostly wanderings hung about the feet like a hazy mist, the energy was raised to such a climax that it snapped, during the first tune no less, and the band flowed on like nothing happened.