Never Miss A Sunday Show: Mike Gordon Returns To The Egg – Review & Setlist
Words by: Dianna Hank
Mike Gordon :: 3.11.18 :: The Egg :: Albany, NY
Last night, Mike Gordon brought his five-piece band back to The Egg in Albany for the final night of the weekend’s three-night, three-city run that included shows in Philadelphia and Brooklyn.
The bassist has previously gone on record declaring his infatuation with the venue and even selected the band’s 2011 show there to be remixed, mastered and officially released. In regards to that 2011 show, Gordon stated that The Egg was, “So tight sounding that evening that every note was easy to hear, which allows a band to play with more intention and more connection. Ironically, the extra feeling of control made us feel like we could play with more reckless abandon.”
Due to the impressive and unique sonic qualities of the room, The Egg has become a frequent stop on Gordon’s tours, with last night’s show being the third time in three years that he has brought his band to perform there. The quintet featuring Scott Murawski on guitar, drummer John Kimock, percussionist Craig Myers and keyboardist Robert Walter in addition to Gordon on bass eagerly took the stage shortly after ticket time and hit the ground running.
The group opened with OGOGO’s “Stealing Jamaica,” a groovy and spacey percussion-heavy tune that would set the stage for the rest of the evening. Next, they borrowed from Phish’s Big Boat with “Waking Up Dead,” Scott and Mike’s contribution to the 2016 studio album. The magical sonic qualities of the venue were highlighted during this song, as it felt like the bass was reverberating around the room and you could hear each individual instrument incredibly clearly. Walter took the spotlight in this thick groove before Myers picked up the tempo, creating a more upbeat, fast-paced jam.
Coming out of one of the most easily recognizable songs of the evening, Mike then led his band through a new song that they just debuted earlier this winter entitled “Noon To Noon.” Friend and fellow collaborator Leo Kottke wrote “Noon To Noon,” and gave Mike permission to perform the song with his band. This tune began with an instrumental, classical-sounding intro before switching gears to a percussive section, which gave the song a bouncy feel. It then switched gears once again to become a macabre, deep funk with spacey sounds emanating out of Walter’s side of the stage. Kimock drove this extended jam until the entire band ended up in an energetic pocket prior to a beautifully blissful peak. The group then slowed down into a smoother, more buttery groove before fizzling out completely, faking the audience out. Scott and Mike then came back in with vocals to end the song, putting the finishing touches on an incredibly tight jam that was definitely a highlight of the first set.
After this heavy hitter, Gordon took off his scarf, much to the audience’s delight, before launching into Max Creek’s “Cruel World” which he has been playing with his band since 2003. Then, in an uncommon move for the jam band scene, Gordon led his group into “Steps” for the third consecutive night. This band and audience favorite is a feel-good, funky, dance track off OGOGO that has a special way of burrowing itself deep into your brain and making sure you’re humming it for weeks to come. An earworm of the best variety!
Finally, to close the set, the quintet delivered a killer cover of Tower Of Power’s “You Strike My Main Nerve.” The song, which entered the band’s rotation this past January, is right in their wheelhouse both vocally and instrumentally and seemed like the perfect way to close out the first set.
After a short setbreak, the band returned to the stage, with Myers picking up a ngoni (a West African string instrument often made of wood with stretched dried animal skin) to perform Barika’s “Angatta,” an incredibly rhythmic and percussive African-influenced instrumental that had the audience shaking their hips and some even singing the words to Talking Heads’ “I Zimbra” over the music. The subsequent “Up and Down” and “Pendulum” delivered a one-two punch of high energy OGOGO tunes before Gordon reached back to Overstep for the more eerie-sounding “Peel.” While haunting at first, this song quickly broke away from its spooky sound after the vocals were done and into a much funkier jam.
A cover of Tame Impala’s “Mind Mischief” came next, featuring a blissful, airy groove which segued into the more familiar “Crazy Sometimes.” This song featured several teases of The Guess Who’s “American Woman” before the band lit into a full-on “American Woman” jam. The group then seamlessly segued into “Say Something,” which Murawski ripped to a soaring peak that ended the second set on a high note.
After leaving the stage for a short break, the band returned to encore with an upbeat, poppy cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin.” This high-energy crowd pleaser had the audience on their feet, dancing and singing along, proving once again that the age old adage is true — “Never miss a Sunday show.”
Set One: Stealing Jamaica, Waking Up Dead, Noon To Noon, Cruel World, Steps, You Strike My Main Nerve
Set Two: Angatta, Up & Down, Pendulum, Peel, Mind Mischief > Crazy Sometimes > Say Something
Encore: Gimme Some Lovin’
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