ulu | The Knitting Factory | New York, NY | 10-31-01
Halloween spirits in the air, crazy costumes on crazy folks, and New York City funky jazz jam freaks ulu at New York City's Knitting Factory late night. With Medeski, Martin, & Wood as well as The String Cheese Incident in town, it made a great option for many to keep on groovin through the night. Giving in to the extremely loose side of my personality, I drerssed up as a freewheelin pimp, which seemed to get more than a few glances of admiration.
The Knitting Factory is located only a few blocks away from "ground zero," which gave us all a chance to pump some good vibes and good music into the air. The crowd size was pretty decent considering the location and time of the show. The energy level was always high as ulu pumped some of its classics out in the first set while the crowd enjoyed the dimly lit jazz style atmosphere of The Knitting Factory.
At first I thought I was at a Marvel and DC comics convention, but I quickly relized that the ulu boys dressed up as the classic superheroes Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and The Green Lantern for the show. I was stunned to see how saxman Aaron Gardner's chest muscles have developed since the last time I saw him. He must be working out. ulu Road Manger Todd Kaback was also in the crowd as the reverant Obe Wan Kinobe which gave a feeling of mystique to the night.
The band played a great first set to set things movin in the right direction. Spiderman Scott Chasolen was right on target as he played a combination of extremely melodic and hard nosed funky solos in songs like "Monkey Fungus" and "Scab." The closed with a highly inspired rendition of Herbie Hancock's "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" which featured some extraordinary bass playing by The Green Lantern Justin Wallace.
It is hard to describe the feeling at a late night show when you feel like you are doing the world justice by just dancing and having fun into the wee wee hours. This certainly was the feeling here as the second set featured some long and extended improvisations from the band in songs that are all featured on the new live CD release entitled Whats the Deal? I highly recommend picking up this album as it is a great chance to feel the energy of a live ulu show and see what this great band is all about.
This is a band that takes jams into the realm of intelligent musical phrases and patterns. The way this band compliment each other on stage is a must see and can only be explained by the fact that they know each other's capabilities extremely well. They have been at this for years and they deserve the respect of any well versed jamband fan. As for Halloween, it was great to know that a band and some people can reassure everyone that even through the face of tragedy, we all must go out and have some fun and we all certainly did that night with ulu at The Knitting Factory in downtown Manhattan. Not only did the band dress up, but their music did as well as it touched the very vibe that is southern Manhattan right now.
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