Steve Kimock and Friends :: 10.29 - 10.31 :: George's Majestic ::
Halloween is an incredible time for music goers to tap into their freaky alter-egos
and get dressed up in celebration of a time-held tradition. We took the Midwest leap
and decided to journey beyond the day-to-day trappings of our hometown of Boulder,
Colorado (known for its infamous Halloween "mall-crawl") in quest of the ultimate
Halloween musical experience.
We set forth across the plains during a time of political un-rest, as early voting
was underway and the Midwest seemed to be in a quiet eerie haze. The air was filled
with musty wet heat and the land rolled on forever – giving new meaning to the area
we refer to as the "plains."
The journey took us into the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas, down to George's Majestic where the
musical genius and powerhouse line-up of Steve Kimock, Robert Walter, Rodney Holmes, Reed Mathis and special guests Martin Fierro and Earl
Kate had been preparing for their first ever performance together. While the
line-up reads more like an impromptu jam at a festival or benefit show, this
calculated performance spanned an entire three-night run. From the very first notes
of "New Africa," it was evident that this Halloween Hootenanny was going to blow the
barn doors off of sleepy Fayetteville.
Steve Kimock :: Halloween 2004 :: AR
A review of the setlists from this three-night run would seem mundane to the actual
improvisational brilliance that occurred during the span of the weekend. So the
highlights will instead be painted by commentary and visual aides, the only logical
approach to reviewing any of Kimock's projects.
Kimock's proficiency to fill a room with the supple and sweet tone of his guitar has
always been an outstanding aspect of his music. His ability to almost eat you with
his heart-shuddering tone has never quite been topped by other artists playing in his
market. His music is known for meandering through a field of emotions, drawing vivid
visions from within, rather than spelling out each emotion in giant block letters.
Kimock leaves interpretation to the listener, allowing each experience to be personal
and moving. The peerless combination of musicians lined up in Steve Kimock and Friends
seemed to be the perfect springboard for his exploratory, ambitious and driven
While the musicians focused primarily on Kimock-Holmes standards, Walter approached
Kimock's melodies, many of which have been in creation for over 15 years, with a
fresh and completely new voice, that merely served to extend the creation process.
The extent of each player's ability to communicate musically was astounding.
Walter spread the mix into a starry night sky with soft echoing rhythms interlaced
with funk, jazz and probing sounds from another dimension. Each song was extended
and taken further than I have ever heard this catalogue pushed. Spicy sections of
soul-stirring gospel ran through the veins of even the more serious songs in Kimock's
repertoire. Walter led the band in a moving, spiritually satisfying jam during "Many
Rivers to Cross" that was so thick; it should have been called jelly. At one moment,
I found myself with arms in the air, cheering "Amen!"
Steve Kimock and Friends
Halloween 2004 :: AR
Enter Fierro, his silky saxophone laying out the purest tones to contrast Kimock; his
surprise addition to the mix was a lament to days gone by, before Zero became nothing. His
familiarity with the music was the crossfire between extended playful improvisation
and tearing at the helm in the backdrop offered by Holmes and Mathis.
Every single second of the music left the listener on the edge of their seat. Each
jam was revisited and brought back to life as a new creation, some songs lasting well
over thirty minutes. Songs like "It's Up to You" started out with ten-minute, jazz-
oriented jams that barely resembled their original formula until slowly forming into
the familiar mix of notes. The balance of musicianship combined within this setting
fashioned a perfect helix as the band brought the complex compositions from
exploratory highs into the soft and utterly sweet whisper, famously known to be
The excitement and energy in the music seemed to be almost ripping at the seams
during songs like "Thing One," "Samba," "Malichi" and "One for Brother Mike" as the
momentum spiraled into an abyss of their muse. The music reached in directions so
far out from the original material that you were left wondering what song they were
playing, but digging every minute of it.
The depth and breath of each tune was brilliant in their own right. Rarities and
ballads imparted the intensity of meaning while affecting each listener differently.
With this line up, the weekend was chalked full of memorable tunes both old, new and
never played before.
|Steve Kimock and Friends :: Halloween
2004 :: AR
Highlights include the first-time played "Spirits in the Material World," a Police
cover that was presented with a downbeat, reggae feel. Another tune that always
seems to stand out is the forever favorite ballad, "Coles Law," which was
particularly heart-wrenching with the soulful combination of Fierro and Walter in the
mix. Dripping out of the emotion, about mid-way into "Better Get Hit in Your Soul"
Walter displayed his versatility as he threw down the grooviest flute-like solo the
song has ever heard.
The typically short version of "Steel Guitar Rag" was brought to a soaring new height
with the addition of two key elements, local musician Earl Cate and the collector's
edition, quad-neck lap-steel guitar, rumored to be formally owned by Leon McAuliffe! This quad
steel was made by Leo Fender himself for Leon and is featured on the original version
of the song "Steel Guitar Rag." The new quad-neck was a gift from a fan and was
played during a number of songs throughout the weekend that included an ultra-swanky
version of "Samba" on Friday night.
On the whole, this weekend of SK&F rates as one of my all-time favorite musical
journeys in terms of improvisation and musical genius. The voyage home through
endless hours of corn fields and genetically-engineered farm operations seemed swift
and painless after our incredible experience in Fayetteville. Heck, there were only
a few jokes about the "plains" on the return home.
JamBase | Colorado
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