Review: Mike Gordon Band in Northampton

Mike created a lax and intimate environment (aided by the small size of the venue) by recounting stories of his 16-month-old child and her penchant for calling one of his pet cats “Iz.” He led the audience in a mantra-like “Iz” chant that returned during a few other occasions in the show. Interestingly, Mike adding to the sonic landscape of the show by improvising with a KAOSS-pad-like instrument that manipulated patches of sound with a touchscreen. The stagehands were fixing Murawksi’s monitors many times during the show, and Mike skilfully brought out his new toy to create sound in the mean time. He showed the audience the different beats he could create by tapping on the pad, then he let some members of the audience tap on it to make their own sounds.

The highlights from the second set included Cleary’s vocal lead on Crumblin’ Bones, a song that sent the audience into a frenzy, and the return of Hap Nappy, a song that saw some of its best renditions on the Mike and Trey with The Duo tour of 2006. Hap Nappy was much played much faster than usual, but that only made the dancing more raw and energetic. Though it wasn’t on the setlist, Mike threw a curve ball at his bandmates and segued straight into La La La. Needless to say, the band followed along fluidly. Murawksi’s hilariously caricatured vocals on Cities brought laughter and smiles to the audience. The band’s version more closely resembles the original Talking Heads song than Phish’s slower, groovier interpretation.

The night ended with a fast-paced Swamp Music, a Possum-like blues tune. Such a strong performance showed how the band’s preparation and rehearsals paid off. The band has been together for two years, but Saturday’s show proved that Mike is not afraid to keep taking risks. With a repertoire full of originals and covers that is constantly growing, there is a lot to expect out of Mike Gordon’s new band. Though the next time you’ll see Mike live will probably be with Phish, there’s definitely another album and at least a handful of tours expected from his new band.

Mike Gordon Band
March 13, 2010
Pearl Street
Northampton, MA

Set One: Can’t Stand Still, Spiral, Columbus Stockade*, Voices*, Radar Blip, The Beltless Buckler > I’m Deranged > Dig Further Down

Set Two: What Things Seem, Fire From A Stick, Crumblin’ Bones > Time (The Revelator) > Hap Nappy > La La La, Cities, Be Good And You’ll Be Lonely, Traveled Too Far

Encore: Swamp Music

Show Notes:

* with Mark Mercier on keyboards/vocals

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2 Responses

  1. nice review! i heard really good things about this show from a friend in Boston. Said the energy in the room that night was excellent for a MIke show. With all the love Chuck Norris and TAB got this recent tour, It’s great to see ‘ole Purple Pants gettin some love of his own on the HT.

    any more pics from Balaji?

  2. I had a complete blast. It was great seeing my old friend since he’s become so big. Haven’t seen him in about ten years but he is just fantastic! Stayed all night in the front row. Think I blew my right ear out but it was totally worth it. Also stayed up till way past my bed time on daylight savings night to boot. Took me till Thursday to recover. Ouch! One thing I love about Mike’s playing these days is its is totally wide open. No holds barred. He makes the bass guitar so interesting and fun while totally holding the bottom. He’s up there with the greats! Mingus watch out! Anyhow I loved it. Oh Yeah and actually I wasn’t the guitar player in Mikes High School band, he was the bass player in my High School band. Though we did play at his high school more than my high school. Oh well. Blessings everyone. Kerry

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