Mike Gordon | 09.08.09 | Brooklyn

By: Brian Bavosa

Mike Gordon :: 09.08.09 :: Music Hall of Williamsburg :: Brooklyn, NY

Mike Gordon by Dino Perrucci
Coming off the recent, wildly successful Phish Summer Tour, Mike Gordon had no trouble getting in sync with his solo band when they kicked off their own tour at Brooklyn, NY's Music Hall Of Williamsburg last week. Joined by guitarist Scott Murawski (Max Creek), Todd Isler (drums), Tom Cleary (keys) and Craig Myers (percussion), Gordon was in a loose, jovial mood, repeatedly citing how much fun he's had with this band over the past year.

The evening began with local boy Marco Benevento performing solo on piano. A rare talent, Benevento's understated, tasteful efforts and strong jazz chops proved the perfect way to get the juices flowing.

Wasting little time, Gordon and company took the stage and jumped immediately into "Dig Further Down" and the bubbly bass-led "Radar Blip," both off of his 2008 release, The Green Sparrow. However, the real treat of the early part of the show was a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Swamp Music." When this tune starts, it sounds exactly like Phish's "Possum," which rumor has it, Phish co-founder and "Possum" composer Jeff Holdsworth used as inspiration for the tune. It was funky, feisty and truly allowed the band and audience to settle into a solid - and eerily familiar - groove.

Gordon originals "What Things Seem" and "Can't Stand Still" both made their debuts, with the latter feeling particularly appropriate for this very laid-back Tuesday night tour opener in the hipster capital of the universe. Benevento and Duo partner Joe Russo, Gordon's sometime tour mates, sat in for "Sarala," a Craig Myers original where Russo went off on the kit in his unique slash and burn style, and Desmond Dekker's "Intensified" which showcased Benevento's organ abilities. As they segued into show closer "Traveled Too Far," The Duo left the stage for the Mike Gordon Band proper to wrap things up with this rocking number.

The encore offered another surprise with an "Andelmans' Yard" sandwich around "15 Steps," a debut Radiohead cover that pleased the Brooklyn masses. "Andelmans' Yard" is arguably Gordon's best and most well liked solo tune, but it was not enough to salvage a loosey-goosey and at times sloppy tour opener.

Overall, it was a fun Tuesday that never seemed to click 100-percent, but rather felt like a free-from jam session in a cozy venue to kick off a solo tour. This might be Gordon's side project and no one expects it to trump his other band, but that isn't stopping Mike from having the time of his life.

Mike Gordon :: 09.08.09 :: Music Hall of Williamsburg :: Brooklyn, NY
Dig Further Down, Radar Blip, Swamp Music*, What Things Seem**, Can't Stand Still**, Voices, The Field^, Couch Lady, Sarala#, Intensified^^ > Traveled Too Far
Encore: Andelmans' Yard > 15 Steps*** > Andelmans' Yard

* Lynyrd Skynyrd cover
** Mike original, first time played
^ Scott Murawski original
# Craig Myers original, with Craig on N'goni and Joe Russo on drums (Todd on percussion) & Marco Benevento on organ (with Tom on Keyboard)
^^ Desmond Dekker cover, with Joe Russo on drums (Todd on percussion) & Marco Benevento on organ (with Tom on Keyboard)
*** Radiohead cover, first time played

Mike Gordon is on tour now; dates available here.

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[Published on: 9/15/09]

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