On Saturday night I caught another fantastic show by Steve Kimock & Friends in NYC. I last saw Steve & co. this spring doing a residency at Sullivan Hall with a rotating cast of interesting musicians. And although the lineup and vibe of Saturday’s show was quite a bit different, my overall takeaway was pretty similar to the last round:
Overall, this show was just the quintessential Kimock, featuring a little taste of all of the signature styles that make him such a great–and underrated–guitarist. We heard ripping blues solos, powerful slide leads, emotional minor-chord passages, unique & interesting rhythm work, and of course, that light, lilting and seemingly effortless finger-dancing-across-the-fretboard that is just patented Kimock.
That sums up my experience on Saturday pretty nicely. But one of the biggest difference from last time I saw Steve was definitely the lineup. Steve’s friends on this latest tour include Wally Ingram on drums, keyboard funkmaster Bernie Worrell, and Steve’s long-time collaborator, Bobby Vega, ripping things up on the funky bass. Also, for a number of tunes throughout the night, Steve’s son Morgan, added some tasteful percussive layers to Ingram’s drumming, and Peter Apfelbaum joined the band on sax, keys and percussion.
Having Bobby Vega back on low-end duties is what really made this show special for me. I’ve already described my love for KVHW on this site before, but I’m also a big Zero fan. So what that means is that I basically love anything involving Steve Kimock and Bobby Vega playing together. Bobby just brings out the perfect amount of funk, soul and exploratory jamming in Steve’s playing. Plus, they know each other’s styles and approaches so well, and that musical connection played out perfectly during a number of standout songs on Saturday night.
“Rigor Mortis” brought on a slow, loping funk groove and “Ice Cream” really set the band off into interesting improv territory, part of which I was able to grab on video below. Now this video doesn’t do the entire jam justice, as they’d already settled into an interesting, almost tropical groove for several minutes by the time I hit record…but luckily I was able to grab a decent portion where Steve just started channeling the friggin guitar gods. Check this out:
“Ice Cream” Jam
That’s just a snippet of one of the best versions of “Ice Cream” I think I’ve witnessed (including the first one way back in the late 90s). Other standout tracks from the 1st set included the always soulful “Baby Baby” and the mellower “Tongue ‘N’ Groove,” which ended set one with some utterly emotive playing by Steve.
Set II brought some seriously fun and funky jams, including a barn-burning version of “Hillbillies” that got the crowd amped-up and rowdy. During “Hillbillies” the band really let Bobby open things up with the funk, and luckily I was able to nab nearly all of this on video:
“Hillbillies” (w/ “Manic Depression” “Norwegian Wood” and “For the Love of Money” teases)
Towards the end of the tune (~7:15), Bobby took a solo and opened up a bass clinic, dropping a long-form tease of “Manic Depression” that just rocked the place — also note the inventive keyboard work by Bernie Worrell, who found a clever way to insert the melody from “Norwegian Wood ” on top of it all (whoah!). After that, Bobby suddenly switched gears and threw down the bass line from the O’Jays “For the Love of Money.” Shit just got downright nasty, with Bernie joining in on the funk brigade. By the way, my sincere apologies that I couldn’t hold out for the entire video of this song; I needed to get my groove on.
Now I could go on further with descriptions of Steve’s beautiful slide playing during the bands’ take on Jimmy Cliff’s “So Many Rivers to Cross” or I could dig into Bobby Vega’s lessons from the funk school during a ripping “Anorexia.” But that “Hillbillies” jam kind of summed up the vibe of the entire night…old musical friends reconnecting and just having a ton of fun laying it down for all the old Kimock heads — who, by the way, are a surprisingly dedicated bunch. In fact, I met a lot of really wonderful people on Saturday night, some of whom I definitely recognized from KVHW shows at the Wetlands or Kimock Band shows in the late 90s and early 00s — and in that sense, it really felt a lot like a reunion.
And what better place to reunite old Kimock fans than at what I consider to be the new millennial-era version of the “Wetlands” (Brooklyn Bowl is owned by Pete Shapiro, former owner of the Wetlands). The Wetlands played host to so many amazing shows by Steve and his various musical projects throughout the 90s, and I consider myself lucky as hell to have witnessed a few of them live. So here’s hoping Brooklyn Bowl continues facilitate those (re)connections and we get to keep enjoying the results. Even if it just means more Kimock & Vega projects, then I’d be one happy fan.
Read on for the full photo gallery, setlist, and downloads….
Steve Kimock & Friends @ Brooklyn Bowl, 11/5/11
Lineup: Steve Kimock, Bobby Vega, Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram
Peter Apfelbaum on Sax (+ keys and percussion)
XVSK opened the show (Trevor Exter and Morgan Kimock)
Tongue N Groove
Many Rivers to Cross (Jimmy Cliff cover)
Hillbillies (w/ “Manic Depression” “Norwegian Wood” and “For the Love of Money” teases)
Use Me Up (Bill Withers cover; w/ Trevor Exter and Morgan Kimock)
XVSK opened the show (Trevor Exter and Morgan Kimock)
Although I wasn’t able to catch the entire opening set by XVSK, I definitely dug what I heard. Trevor Exter’s approach to cello is very unique and Morgan Kimock (Steve’s son) is a really solid drummer now….clearly he learned from some quality players (assuming Rodney Holmes played a role there). I highly recommend checking them out over on bandcamp.
Download the audience recording at the LMA or buy the official soundboard recording via LiveDownloads.com.
Check out my full photo set on flickr.