Sullivan Hall

Postcards From Page Side: Kimock All-Stars

For three Wednesday nights in March and April, guitar maestro Steve Kimock has assembled a rotating cast of All-Stars to accompany him for a residency filled with completely improvisational, free-form jamming. I was able to catch the middle of these three nights at New York City’s Sullivan Hall last Wednesday, which featured a truly stellar lineup of Marco Benevento (The Duo/GRAB) on keys, Adam Deitch (Lettuce/Pretty Lights/Break Science) on drums and Marc Friedman (The Slip) on bass joining Kimock. The results were inspired, daring and overall, very impressive.

[All photos by Marc Millman]

While I have included links to videos and audio below, for one to truly grasp the events of this evening, one needs to understand Kimock’s, and these other super-talented musicians’, schools of thoughts. While Benevento and Friedman are well known on the jamband and indie scenes, and have played together in many instances prior, this was the first time that these four musicians had formally played a gig as a whole. Deitch was in my mind the wild-card on this evening, bringing an impressive funk and hip-hop swagger to the fold that I wasn’t quite sure how it would fit into this scene of loose, laidback, patient, and at times, very psychedelic playing. In the end, Deitch held the backend down, but never really stepped into the spotlight as I would have hoped to showcase his nasty chops.

Incorporating some Kimock numbers throughout the evening, things really seemed to open up with the first set cloer of 5 B4 Funk. A number that relies on heavy bass thumping, Friedman crushed the low-end and had the near sell-out crowd bobbing and moving. You’re The One was another highlight as it really kick started a fiery set two and allowed Kimock to really get cooking – something I wish he’d do more of, frankly. While he is the most impressive guitarist I have ever seen in terms of sound, tone and technicality, he manages to stay true to his philosophy of exuding patience in nearly any situation. That may be the reason that I have always found his fans to be jazz lovers, as you really need to focus, peel back the layers and pay attention to gain the full effect and receive the ultimate payoff.

READ ON for more of this week’s Postcards From Page Side…

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HT Interview: Steve Kimock, Resident Expert

Legendary guitar guru Steve Kimock kicked off an exciting spring residency at New York City’s Sullivan Hall last Wednesday, which over the course of three weeks will find the Bethlehem, PA native joined by a Yankee-esque stacked roster of big hitters including Marco Benevento, John Morgan Kimock, Adam Deitch, John Molo, Marc Friedman, Andy Hess, Henry Butler and Pete Sears.

By all accounts, the first iteration of the weekly residency exceeded all expectations as the various members gelled in ambitious improvisation. In fact, in Kimock’s own words, “The show on Wednesday was awesome! It was ridiculous, so much better than I could have hoped. I knew it would be fine, since it’s a nice place with decent people, so the nature of the event was that it should have been cool, but it was extraordinary. I’m reeling.”

With two more weeks to go in the series, we caught up with Steve Kimock to chat about what went into to preparing for the Sullivan Hall shows as well as a whole host of topics including his job working at Mesa Boogie back in the 1970s, the direction of his recent writing and playing music with his son.

Hidden Track: Let’s kick it off with the residency. Obviously, you’ve got a lot of crack shot musicians involved, but I was curious what kind of preparation goes into when there are so many different players, moving parts, and so on?

Steve Kimock: Ay Ay Ay. Not a lot, honestly [laughs]. There’s not a lot that you can do other than get the logistics of it together. If it was any other kind of gig, like if I was a singer/songwriter type or if I had a hit song on the radio, the people that would have been involved would have a pretty simple task. They’d know what the song was, I could send them a chart, and that’s that.

The way I like to work is to prepare the groundwork for something creative or serendipitous to happen in an authentic improvisational way. You know, you don’t really know what people are good at, and what the chemistry ultimately can provide. To dictate too much upfront screws that up. There’s a certain amount of preparation, maybe half of the material we played last week, we touched on briefly. Then we got up and played, and as we played together, it became obvious that if I went too hard toward telling everyone what to do, I would have screwed that gig up. And no kidding, that was a monstrous gig. READ ON for more of Ryan’s chat with Steve Kimock…

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Marc’s Musings: Pandora Mardi Gras

The crowd requested “Mardi Gras.” Pandora provided the “playlist”  – Sullivan Hall, March 3

The music industry is lost. The labels really have no clue as to how they can turn things around. And realistically, they probably can’t. At least not in terms of putting it back to where it was. After all, when you can purchase the one good song an artist puts out on a new album for about a buck, why would anybody spend even $9.99 for an album worth of filler material? And even more importantly, with the days of records stores all but over, people have no connection to the music anymore. It’s simply a digital file.

[Photos by Marc Millman]

And this now leads to the next problem for the industry. Why even buy that track when you can stream it from endless sites? And since you no longer have the Robs, Dicks & Barrys of High Fidelity or the staff of places like Smash on St. Marks to ask for recommendations, how can you find new music? Are you really going to put all of your faith into everything Apple and listen exclusively to what the “Genius” tells you?

Pandora Radio has been making music recommendations since being founded by the Music Genome Project 11 years ago. It’s not perfect. It doesn’t have an endless library. However, it does continue to expand. And it’s nice to be able to plug in the name of an artist (The Meters) or a song title (Bennie & The Jets) or a genre (Funk) and just let it go. And besides, nothing is perfect and none of us can own every song no matter how many blogs we may scour. And when it comes to the music biz, it’s ideas like Pandora and live concerts that actually work.

READ ON for Marc’s take on the Pandora Radio party…

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Tour Dates: Summer Camp Initial Line Up

As we saw our first snow flakes here in New York City yesterday, there is nothing that gets us through the winter faster and thinking about the warm months ahead,

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Review: Lee Boys @ Sullivan Hall

Alex Borsody shares his thoughts and photos from Tuesday night…

The Lee Boys’ performance at Sullivan Hall came the night after a knockout performance on Conan, a huge step for any band’s career. Particularly for Miami’s Lee Boys, who are not as well known outside of the south.

Large southern festivals such as Bonnaroo, Langerado and Wakarusa helped launch the band into the spotlight with live music fans, but outside of this community the band still remains relatively unknown. The Lee Boys have the originality and musical potential to make it to the next level and with a little luck and persistence they can make it happen.

Sullivan Hall could be considered one of New York City’s last true bohemian concert halls, regularly featuring some of the best and biggest names in improvisational rock. The dimly lit venue was occupied by only 100+ people or so, a small turnout for this band who I have seen before in their home state of Florida and at the festivals mentioned above. The fact that it was a Tuesday night could account for the relatively low turn out, something the majority of bands encounter during a tour. One thing is for sure, that between this show and the Conan performance, this New York run is going to win over many new fans.

READ ON for more of Alex’s review of Lee Boys @ Sullivan Hall…

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