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A Band with Infinite Possibilities

March 23rd, 2011

Mike Gordon – Brooklyn Bowl – March 22, 2011

Mike Gordon - Brooklyn Bowl - March 22, 2011
Cross-breeding genres without a care and inserting long, noodling jams everywhere, Mike Gordon and his guitarist Scott Murawski, another stalwart from the old days of jam yore, filled two long sets at Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday night with original music and inventive takes on other people’s tunes. The first set opened with “Idea” and already the template was struck: asymmetric pop songs, odd-meter rhythms, quirky lyrics and a band talented enough to create infinite possibilities with the material. Like most of the songs played, it had lengthy keyboard and guitar solos, returning to the chorus before launching into a final coda jam led by Gordon’s electrifying bass. Murawski was like a jam-band compendium from the old days of the type, ably channeling Trey Anastasio, Dickey Betts, Jimmy Herring and Carlos Santana depending on what the songs called for. Standout versions of originals “Sugar Shack” and “Can’t Stand Still” and perfectly executed covers of the blues-bluegrass “Walls of Time,” Beck’s “Black Tambourine” and Talking Heads’ “Cities” proved throughout the first set that Gordon truly believes that more is more and also proved that he is correct.

The second set allowed things to get even weirder and more luxuriously self-indulgent. Long spaced-out sections showed the band to be in well-tuned form, with all the musicians locked into grooves that had the audience bouncing. Gordon led the way with effects-laden bass playing that was somehow both bandleader and sideman. A bizarro dance contest was held onstage as the band played “The Void,” a song in 7/4 time. Like all good jamsters, Gordon saved his best for last, wowing the Bowl with a lengthy closing “Suskind Hotel” that segued nicely into “La La La” before going back into “Suskind.” Those in the crowd had been calling for their desired playlist all night, and most were rewarded when they returned for a great version of “Meat,” which found Gordon as phenomenal on his instrument as ever. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Michael Jurick | music.jurick.net