Steve Kimock Band, Tsunami Jam, BB King’s, NYC- 1/31
For a Monday night gig, the just about midnight slot is essentially the prime time spot, but for the crowd thinned nonetheless before SKB took the stage at the NYC Tsunami Jam at B.B. King's. Much of the younger crowd had come out for The Duo (probably looking for a Mike Gordon guest spot), and left during the stage change. Marco and Joe did welcome guests Dave Dreiwitz and Scott Metzger to form the quartet the hardcore know as Bustle in Your Hedgerow for a mini Zep set. Some fans are nuts for the unit, but you really have to be partial to Metzger's particular guitar shredded showboating for the group's performance to take hold- it's easy to miss Zeppelin joints as performed by the duo of The Duo. And I'll take my "What Is and What Should Never Be" with a shot of Brad Barr. That all being said, the forty minutes or so of the Bustle made for the most musically satisfying Zep set in recent memory- very fun, responsive playing with a number of extended jamlets- and someone detached from the world of desires could have easily left the show satisfied, and still had a solid night of sleep.
For those who lingered, Kimock and crew offered a ninety minute set that perhaps required too much attention to subtlety for the chatty crowd. The opening "New Africa" immediately went low and quiet, despite the fact that Steve was toting his Explorer. Suddenly it popped into an extended reggae jam marked by sharp, clean rhythm work from Mitch. Steve's playing began to slowly build, and the lead skipped across little jumping points to race through distinct, but thematic passages. By the end, the Explorer was eating up the amps.
Gears switched and the quartet was quickly in the midst of a bad-ass little rhythm groove at the outset of "Thing One." Steve and Mitch laughed across the stage, as they did throughout the night, at the jabs and teasing in their playing. A no-Mona version, the tune's centerpiece was a slick Kimock solo that carried right through the second chorus and the song's close. The show swelled at a steady pace, each tune just out-toasting its predecessor. In "Dr. Zaius," Steve was casting out into the cosmos before the band left the composition. The movement was jazzy and sweetly starlit, until Mitch stepped out for his first solo of the night, an aggressive growl of a solo, like some violent rupture in the earth. Both Rodney (who was not playing his own kit, and as a result, did not explode as he usually does- no crossfire concussions) and Leo crowded after Mitch s lead, pushing him on.
Easing again into a smoother, prettier mood, SKB produced a really fine, warm "Brother Mike." The band has unveiled a slew of new material over the last year; "Brother Mike" was one of the first, and remains one of the best. Like the "New Africa", the early playfulness eventually gave way to a big, soaring solo from Steve, the sort of solo that can sneak up on you if you re not listening. The show closed with the contrasted pair of Sabertooth" and "Tongue and Groove." Normally a bar and bathroom break, I actually was enthralled by the former- the fuzzy Kimock licks over bubbling Moose rhythms; the sudden drops; the little groove-down with Leo sitting out. At the other extreme, "Tongue and Groove" is always a spine tingler, and this version was no exception. Just perfect, potent, searing guitar and driving, driving rhythm. Kimock is known for "Coles Law" > "Tangled Hangers", "It's Up to You" and "Why Can't We All Just Samba?", but "TnG" is what I play to introduce a virgin to the beauty of K Waves. It was the highlight of the set.