Anders Osborne Heats Up Brooklyn Bowl

December 16th, 2013

Andes Osborne – Brooklyn Bowl – December 13, 2013

Friday night was one of those cold December evenings best for curling up cozy in front of the fireplace. But if you happened to be at Brooklyn Bowl instead, you got to see Anders Osborne perform as a human fireplace, ablaze with soulful songs and burning-hot jams. With a warm-you-up warm-up of “Black Tar,” the band—Carl Dufrene on bass, Eric Bolivar on drums and NYC go-to-guy Scott Metzger sitting in the entire night on guitar—was good and ready by the second tune, “Had My Reasons.” A long noodling introduction eventually moved into the song proper, Osborne blisteringly belting out “My sweet Mary!” before leading the band into a smoking climax.

The rest of the marathon show was one slow burn after another, the musicians playing off one another perfectly, in no hurry to get anywhere. On “Sarah Anne,” Metzger played a crackling solo over a bouncing reggae-tinged beat, and then Osborne zoned into a Grateful Dead–esque theme, with Bolivar and Dufrene supplying the kindling for another long jam. Osborne took the metaphor to heart mid-set with the highlight of the night, “Burning on the Inside,” which began innocently in his signature New Orleans–flavored blues rock. But after a couple of verses, the temperature spiked, and the band went totally molten, oozing into a gorgeous ambient section full of exploratory interplay that expertly flowed back into “Burning.” Tony Leone came out on drums for a medley sandwiched around a rollicking cover of “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” with plenty of audience singing and Metzger and Osborne matching solos.

There was still plenty of heat left in the coals when the set closed, so Osborne threw another log on the fire for the encore with a better-have-your-extinguisher-ready cover of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” With each verse making way for a far-reaching guitar jam, he curled up around his guitar with such energy that Osborne seemed in danger of keeling over completely, but the quartet was able to pull back each time. It was a monster bonfire of an ending—so much for a cozy evening at home. —A. Stein