Friday, October 23, 2009

Galactic & Hood Internet @ Brooklyn Bowl Review

(photo by Rob Chapman)
Here is snippet of my review I sent in today, If you find anything to be factually incorrect let me know, otherwise please read and enjoy a work break.

One great thing about instrumental funk, whether it be an organ trio like Soulive or a full ensemble, are funky covers of popular tunes. The first six notes of Jimi Hendrix's “Manic Depression” were instantly recognizable and went into a loud trombone solo. At one point during a two chord jam Saxophonist Ben Ellman took out his electric harmonica, which runs a cable into an effects pedal. The distortion he used had it sounding like an electric guitar at times. The three chord jam segued into one chord, leaving a lot of room for melody and improvisation (think “Mountain Jam” The Allman Brothers Band.).

Other highlights of the night included New Orleans native Stanton Moore's solo on “Blackbird Special,” a brass band favorite. Bassist Robert Mercurio also took his solo from “Crazyhorse Mongoose,” a song off Galactic's self titled album. The solo has heavy distortion making the bass sound crunchy, like a metal guitar. Mercurio had his trusty 60's vintage Precision Bass which he plays at every gig. The bass is almost identical to the Motown legend James Jameson's Funk Machine and Mercurio pays homage to his soulful forefathers with his timeless style. At one point some drunk kid dressed to the heigth of Williamsburg fashion, jumped onstage and started trying to talk to the band, it took a while before he was finally escorted off. I hope repeats of this kind of thing don't turn the very cool and welcoming security team into the uptight bullies that are at many other venues in NYC. I doubt it.

The NYC gas crew came around afterward and I decided to do some investigative journalism to settle (or create more) of the noise on the internet. On From the Corner to the Block each rapper was asked to write about a corner, any corner. Many of the raps turned out to be a celebration of urban shenanigans. Setting up on the corner with balloons seemed in a way to epitomize this, but I was skeptical. The guy running the thing was an old hippy in an old automobile, he was meek and soft spoken. At no point was he threatened by my questioning and prodding. He said he was never involved in any violence, though he did mention that the people from Philadelphia are more aggressive and they would be the ones responsible. He also took my suggestions of making efforts to control the balloon litter. The college kids helping him seemed to be good friends, out together for a night of fun; enjoying that perpetual “ah ha” moment together. This guy was not pulling in big money...whether his occupation is amoral or not. He told me that there is no organization on the level of a large or mid-sized crime network, as is being rumored. He is at every NYC show and even showed up to Carnegie Hall during a concert there.

Williamsburg is both extremely intriguing and repulsive. The streets have some of the most beautiful graffiti and art in all of New York and there is a lively, safe community. Yet signs of excess and aggressive gentrification are everywhere. At any given block you can look up and spot a bundle of 7 or more pairs of brand new sneakers hanging from the power lines as part of an ad campaign. These kinds of Brooklyn Bowl shows create a cross pollination of tour culture and Williamsburg chic. For example, the Mr. Natural in a school bus “powered by veggie burrito oil” who seems to use the schtick mainly hit on as many anthropology majors as possible. Being surrounded by Brooklyn's young and almost famous is a good time and less pretentious than one might assume. The vibe that Brooklyn Bowl brings to the neighborhood is a new and different energy, both humble and exciting, nostalgic for the golden age of music while working to create a new one.

No comments: