Alex Bleeker and the Freaks/Prince Rupert’s Drops – Mercury Lounge – December 29, 2012
There’s an old “Your father used to tell you” saying: “Nothing good happens after midnight.” But I think we can all agree that’s demonstrably false. Take Saturday’s late-night after-party double bill at Mercury Lounge put on by Dog Gone Blog for those coming from earlier shows. This one was an extrasensory delight with old school projector and Day-Glo liquid light show and some deep, mind-altering psychedelic music. First up, Prince Rupert’s Drops played music from their excellent debut album, Run Slow. The pulsing colors behind the band nicely matched the music, strong candy-coated pop one moment—like the single-ready “Almond Man”—and then stretched out taffy-like, with jams like the title track lasting the better part of 10 minutes, the next.
Finishing the night, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks played a decidedly open-ended set with perfectly pitched ambient late-night groove instrumentals mixing with some crowd-pleasing covers. The wee morning suited Bleeker and Co. well: It was as good as I’ve seen them play, nailing a rocking “Sweet Virginia” and a great “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo.” But the highlight was a cover of Phish’s “Bathtub Gin,” which launched a long, coherent space jam that went beyond Phish or Dead territory to the after-midnight place where maybe nothing good ever does happen. Just don’t tell your pop. —A. Stein