Words by: Alex Borsody | Images by: Rob Chapman
Scaring The Children :: 10.09.09 :: The Brooklyn Bowl :: New York, NY
Scaring the Children, the trio formed by Bob Weir in the mid '90s right after Jerry Garcia passed, consisted of Rob Wasserman on bass and Jay Lane on drums. This trio evolved into what is now Weir's current band, RatDog. Jay Lane stayed with RatDog, while Wasserman continued on to do work with the likes of Lou Reed, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello. This reunion at Brooklyn Bowl, one of the nation's best new music venues, was another shot of high grade American rock into the heart of Williamsburg.
|Scaring The Children :: 10.09.09 :: Brooklyn|
The shirts on the security guards read "welcome," and the acoustics are exceptional. The sound is loud and clear, while it is still possible to hear the person next to you speak. The venue is directly next door to Brooklyn Brewery and has all of their beer on tap. I had their Belgian wheat beer, which was so good I will never be able to drink Blue Moon again. As the Dead fans descended upon the posh neighborhood of Williamsburg, the locals were certainly in the minority. Shady behavior was kept to a minimum, partly due to proper planning in the venue's layout. There is an outside area were the community can meet up, talk and share but no reentry once someone leaves. This lets people enjoy being outside in front of the venue, while limiting certain forms of questionable profiteering that can go on in the street.
The trio took the stage a little late due to the Yankees game. Weir came out with an acoustic and Wasserman with his upright bass. They opened with Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm," and then nailed The Beatles' "Blackbird." "Desolation Row" was the second Dylan song of the night and lent itself well to Weir's dramatic vocals. Weir then switched from his acoustic to a hollow body, tobacco sunburst and sang Dylan's classic "When I Paint My Masterpiece." Though this is an old favorite, this version seemed special and sent a strong emotional feeling throughout the crowd.
The second set included another Beatles cover and the trio was joined by Joe Russo on the drums for the rest of the night. Russo is a Brooklyn local and the man behind some of the best collaborations in live music right now. An energetic, jazz powerhouse, Russo is the backbeat of Weir's Furthur project, where he plays with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. The musicians closed with the Dead's rocking version of the traditional "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad." The jam was high energy, as usual, and had the entire crowd singing along. Weir played his signature bluesy licks and pulled off a solid solo during the climax. Taking a full throttle solo is rare for the largely rhythm guitarist, but he nailed it on this occasion.
|Bob Weir - Scaring The Children :: 10.09|
Photographer Robert Chapman is a machine. He can go for hours without sleep to serve the music. After the show Chapman suggested we go to Sullivan Hall to hear Bonerama, who are in the midst of a Friday residency. There were some interesting guests on the bill, including Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall and The Colin Brown Band. I only first heard of Bonerama this year from a flier for the Bear Creek Music Festival. They are a New Orleans band who have actually been around for some time and are currently touring the North East.
Krasno was playing out of a Marshal Stack on a Gibson that looked very similar to Weir's semi-acoustic, but it was a solid body. I arrived just in time to see Nigel Hall and Krasno sitting in with Bonerama, along with members of the Colin Brown Band and RatDog's saxophonist Kenny Brooks, who was playing a tiny saxophone. They played an instrumental of The Beatles' "Get Back," one of Krasno's signature tunes, and a rendition of The Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post." The four horns from Bonerama played the part of what would be Gregg Allman's passionate vocals, with the brass set loose in the New Orleans style.
Heading out of Sullivan Hall with a peace sign and star stamped on my hand, I pondered the evening and how I got into this mess. The arrival of Brooklyn Bowl on the scene is certainly a game changer for the musical topography of Brooklyn, and as goes NYC so does the country. Perhaps with The Bowl fortifying good music in the city, improvisational rock will regain its proper place in the hearts and minds of urban Americans everywhere.
Scaring The Children :: 10.09.09 :: Brooklyn Bowl :: Brooklyn, NY
Set I: Maggie's Farm > Easy Answers > Loose Lucy, Blackbird > Victim Or The Crime > Desolation Row, When I Paint My Masterpiece > Even So
Set II: October Queen > The Deep End > The Other One > Bass/Drums* > Dear Prudence* > GDTRFB*
* - with Joe Russo
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