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Published: 2008/09/14
by Lauren Sutter

Electron, The Rocks Off Concert Cruise, New York, NY- 8/27

It was a typical summer weekday evening in New York City, with suits running to catch the commuter rail home, the homeless trying to find shelter for the night, and herds of ragers watching the sunset, waiting to board an electric cruise for an evening on The Temptress, as part of the Rocks Off Cruise series. Electron was back, in a setting where there was no stage, so fans were right next to the group, dancing ferociously to the beats provided by the chemists with exquisite jam chemistry.

Electron, now in full tour mode, was comprised of guitarist Tom Hamilton (American Babies, Brothers Past), drummer Joe Russo (Benevento-Russo Duo, Younger Brother), bassist Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits) and keyboardist Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits). The night featured not only compositions traditionally associated with Electron but also those of Brothers Past, Younger Brother and The Disco Biscuits. For any fan of those three acts, this was quite a night.

They opened with “Plan B,” an older Disco Biscuits song with down tempo elements, which eventually led into one of that group's familiar trance fusion jams. Another Biscuits song provided a later highlight as “Little Lai,” appropriated the scenery with its the opening lyrics, “I was born on the streets of NYC...” The crowd pushed forward, singing at the top of their lungs, while Brownstein developed a wide-Cheshire cat smile while throwing his head back, allowing the audience to direct the words. Much later, the quartet offered songs from the rock opera “Chemical Warfare Brigade.” While this has become part of the Disco Biscuits repertoire, it was written by Brownstein and originally performed by Electron.

Hamilton, meanwhile, provided some Brothers Past tunes, including “Simple Gift of Man,” an upbeat tempo song that Russo played with a giddy smile on his face. “A Wonderful Day,” slower in tempo, featured Magner in a beautiful minor jazz piano jam. Hamilton also sang lead on covers of Pink Floyd's “Fearless” and “Echoes.”

Younger Brother fans were pleased to hear the opening of the second set. The delicate tone of “Ribbon on a Branch” combined with the waves of the water made the crowd feel as though they were floating. The fans were subdued, eyes closed, wind buffeting their faces as the music allowed them to transcend.

With as little as 500 people allowed to attend, it had the feel of a true fan club show. Being able to watch the New York City skyline pass by, with the sounds of four talented musicians in the forefront was unforgettable. It was one of the best nights of music I ever experienced.

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