Some Cat From Japan & East Coast Jam Cruise Reunion
@ Brooklyn Bowl (06.03.10)
- The event was playing host to a Jam Cruise East Coast Reunion Party
- Some Cat From Japan was opening for Galactic and I loves me some Will Bernard (and the rest of the members)
When I arrive, the venue is scarce as it always is around 8pm. Ron Johnson spots me from stage: “Karen, can you take some pictures for me please?” Damn right Ron, my pleasure! To my left, my buddy is setting up his taping equipment. Always a positive thing.
So, who loves Jimi Hendrix? Better yet, WHO DOESN’T love them some Jimi Hendrix? Some Cat From Japan is a power house lineup that explores the music of Hendrix through their own interpretations. Boy, I tell ya! For a group that doesn’t rehearse and mixes up its lineup, they are better then real good. I will let you go check out the backgrounds of these guys…go now. Here they are:
Will Bernard (Guitar)
Ron Johnson (Bass)
Scott Metzger (Guitar)
Jason Crosby (B3 Keyboard player and violinist )
Eric Bolivar (Drummer)
The show was slated to start at 8pm and it totally did. Numerous friends were “late” as a result and were not happy. These shows never start on time. But with Galactic coming on at 9:15 and Quest Love dj’ing the 11:30 late night set, things were sticking to schedule. Galactic did, after all, have two more nights to rage.
I am not a fan of cover bands. Period. In this case, there are cover bands and then there is Some Cat From Japan. Man, we were specifically there to see THEM. To see a band comprised of exquisite musicians who have the talent, technique, and personal love for the music, developed from childhood, that allows for them to deliver a show complimenting Jimi’s music through a completely interpretive approach. The approach…to just play and rage it. They just get up there and have a damn good time playing the music from one of their own inspirations. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Tonight, Jason Crosby would be playing keys in place of Nigel Hall who was busy touring with The Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band. Jason would also be bringing us the element of a violin to the mix. So lovely.
Set List: Freak Out ~ Who Knows ~ Manic Depression ~ Freedom ~ Little Wing ~ Crosstown Traffic ~ Spanish Castle ~ Freak Out
Probably the only warm up they had attempted all day, they raged on stage for awhile. Just getting their flow. Honestly, they could have done this all night and I would have been cool with it. But then it was right into Who Knows! with the strum of Will’s strings announcing the familiar melody. YES!! Just a hard rock song that made you want to head bang or something. I have no idea, I just wanted to smile. I knew that much. Bernard got his first rage in right away while Bolivar slammed out the beat and Johnson‘s bass reminded us of the melody. Crosby‘s keys and Metzger‘s accompaniment twinkled behind the other instruments. It was Who Knows but it was their own song. Ragers.
During Manic Depression, Eric Bolivar took a SICK drum solo…one of the only notes I wrote down about the show. I got my first taste of Jason on violin as he gave us a GORGEOUS rendition/breakdown where the keys solo might have been. I wondered if there was a violinist out there who might have put out a Jimi cover cd. Answer after looking…nope. Hmmmm….someone needs to get on that. I am thinking Lili Haydn. Mmmm, mmmm, good!
Bernard took his liberties straying away from the formula of every song. Seriously, boys and their toy RAGING. As I write this, all I want to do is write each of the artists and ask them what their first Hendrix memory was. Shoot, for many artists, hearing a Hendrix tune WAS the reason they played, regardless of instrument…just that they wanted to make MUSIC! Hendrix had the influence and power to move every man on that stage. That is pretty intense. I wondered if these musicians realized that there were fans in their audience who would be covering their songs in the future with as much passion as they were tonight for Jimi. It was a great rage on stage that night for sure.
Crosstown Traffic meant time to move around. I ran into Annabelle, aka Julie McCoy, as she shouted, “HEY! NICE SHIRT!! I had, of course, worn my Jam Cruise paraphernalia. On stage, everyone’s fingers flying a mile a minute with the whine of the guitars screaming through the lanes. It sounded ridiculous as I was summonsed to the Jam Cruise table to gather my Street Team gear for Mountain Jam. Woohoo! I got my “Ask Me About Jam Cruise” shirt. You know how happy that makes me? And during Mountain Jam, you know how many people asked me about Jam Cruise when I wore it the last day? ZERO! LOL…they couldn’t get past “Ask Me” is my guess…love it!
Little Wing slowed down the rage into a sexy sway of the hips. Crosby turned to the violin again, so very pretty! The rest of the stage filled in a beautiful backdrop. There were fun pulls of strings. This might have been the point when Will bent down and fiddled with all of his equipment and knobs but I could be wrong. I do wish could have gotten to the review sooner, as getting to it a few weeks later, behind other shows in my mind, has clouded my memory. But the beauty of my life is that I shall see them again soooooooooo soon 🙂 And the recording will come out even sooner!
Spanish Castle was supposed to close out their set but having too much fun up there, the time had flown by and they had run out. I literally felt like they were up there for 5 minutes but we had been given a good 45 minutes of solid FUN! And guess what friends…I surround myself with musically knowledgeable people who’s opinions I greatly respect. The following day was Mountain Jam and even with an entire weekend of utterly amazing music, there was speculation that the Some Cat From Japan set was one of the best all weekend. I can’t say that, but I can certainly understand where those statements came from. This show was incredible and I can’t wait to finally hear it again.
After the show, I lingered for the usual goodbyes. Ron Johnson came into the audience and thanked me for taking pictures for him. What a sweetheart! Some artists really do appreciate the fans. And I hope they forever know how much I appreciate them.
And now…It was time for Galactic…