Bassist Mike Gordon and his solo band returned to Northampton, Massachusetts tonight, the town where the quintet played their first gig on June 30, 2008. This evening’s show took place at the Calvin Theatre, just down the block from the scene of the group’s debut performance – the Iron Horse Music Hall. Cactus paid tribute to bassist Rick Danko, who passed away twelve years ago today, in a roundabout way by covering the Holland/Dozier/Holland-penned Baby Don’t You Do It, a staple of The Band’s live repertoire that was first recorded by Marvin Gaye.
[Photo by @thinlizzy17]
In the middle of the first set, Mike’s band unveiled a pair of debuts in Barika, which shares a name with the Vermont-based band that percussionist Craig Myers fronts, and the aforementioned Baby Don’t You Do It. In an interview which will be published on HT early this week, Myers explains that in West Africa the Arabic word “barika” (pronounced body-kah) means “praise-giving, thanksgiving and giving respect.” Myers, who penned the song Barika, named his seven-piece band Barika as those three qualities are part of the group’s vision. As he does in the band Barika, Myers employed the African harp known as the Kamel N’goni on the song Barika. The opening stanza also featured the group’s take on the Phish classic Meat and their second version of Sideways, a tune Gordon described to our Brian Bavosa
as “a simple, haunting little ditty about the world on its side” in a recent interview. A cover of Little Feat’s Sailin’ Shoes came towards the end of the set between two gems from 2003’s Inside In – Beltless Buckler and Soulfood Man.
Set 1: Dig Further Down, Sideways, Willow Tree, Meat, Andelman’s Yard, Barika*, Don’t Do It*, Beltless Buckler^ > Sailin’ Shoes, Soulfood Man**
Set 2: Couch Lady, Jones > Down To The Nightclub > Can’t Stand Still, Be Good and You’ll Be Lonely > Sound, What Things Seem, Black Tambourine**, Another Door
Encore: Things That Make You Go Hmmm
* – First Time Played
** – w/ Chameleon (Herbie Hancock) Tease
^ – w/ Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather) Tease
Couch Lady kicked off set two continuing the love for Inside In. The spotlight shined on guitarist Scott Murawski for the five-piece’s take on Jones by Max Creek and on keyboardist Tom Cleary for his own Be Good and You’ll Be Lonely later in the set. Can’t Stand Still and What Things Seem, two of the best songs from Gordon’s most recent album, Moss, also saw action in the second set as did a cover of Beck’s Black Tambourine. According to Scott Marks, when Gordon returned for the encore he asked the audience if they would prefer to hear “a jazzy tune or something uptempo.” As Marks noted, apparently uptempo won out since C&C Music Factory’s Things That Make You Go Hmmm filled the encore slot. The group’s last show of the year takes place tomorrow night at The Egg in Albany.