Steve Kimock Residency: Night III @ Sullivan Hall
For the last three weeks, Steve Kimock held residency at New York City’s Sullivan Hall on the Lower East Side. The beauty of a residency is the opportunity to experience your favorite musician/group in various musical positions. Each week, Kimock was supported by a different line-up of musicians bringing us a dense Dead/New Orleans vibe his first week, creating vibrant jams with a younger generation of musicians the second week and finally destroying the audience with a fusion laden performance the third week. The guests were as follows:
Wednesday night’s performance capped off what was truly a magnificent run of music. The heavy fusion style was deeply evident throughout the night’s performance as Steve Kimock delivered the audience what I am boldly going to have to put into my “Top 10 Favorite Steve Kimock Shows” list. I can hear the gasps now but to be fair, I have only seen him maybe 35 times!! BUT STILL…how many can say that they have seen Steve Kimock sing, let alone sing a Beatles song?
I’ve been seeing Kimock in various iterations (Zero/TheOtherOnes/KVHW/SKB) since 1997. I have NEVER witnessed him singing… Mind = blown.. ~ Evan S.
The rock solid rhythm duo in John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, Phil & Friends) and the phenomenal Andy Hess (Govt Mule, Black Crowes, John Scofield) with the gorgeous ivory talent of Pete Sears (Hot Tuna) provided a support for Kimock that allowed him to showcase his talents effortlessly, to an extent that a fire RARELY seen in our wonderful Mr. Steve Kimock burst through over the progression of the night. Steve Kimock truly shined about as bright as I have ever seen him shine!
When I arrived at the intimate Sullivan Hall, Kimock and friends had just began a Kimock original, It’s Up To You. The placed was packed! I was drawn to the stage immediately as Andy Hess’s bass lines wrapped themselves around my heart, pulling me closer. Nang Chalk Pipe, an Ernest Ranglin cover followed. Jamaican guitarist and composer Ernest Ranglin is someone I had never heard of until Kimock began covering this song. There is a guitar style found in nearly all ska music called “scratching” that some people might suggest was created by Ranglin.
If Eric Clapton is God, then Steve Kimock is the holy ghost ~ Josh W.
Kimock’s slow, calculated intro into the Jimmy Cliff tune Many Rivers To Cross was an audience favorite. Sadly, there was a large group of people talking in this small space and for the first time at a show in a while, I heard a large portion of the audience “shhhhh” the other portion. I LOVED that! Personally, I want a shirt that reads “Shut The Fuck Up While The Band Is Playing” on the front and back. Kimock utilized his Hawaiian lap steel to create the draw that defines the song. It was sullen and romantic at the same time. Couples swayed and smiles abounded on the audiences faces.
The jam into Baby Baby, a cover of Ronnie Shannon’s Baby, I Love You which was a hit for Aretha Franklin in the late 60s (thank you for this clarification, Mike), was wicked with Steve lifting off his seat and on to his feet with a smile creeping out from the sides of his generally stagnant lips.
Andy Hess’s bass line locked it down. Andy Hess’s bass line ALWAYS locks it down. For those of you not familiar with Andy Hess, I suggest seeing him immediately. He is an artist in our community who is criminally slept on, providing a solid foundation in every project he plays participant and is rarely given credit when credit is due. The ability of an artist to hold back is just as important in certain musical scenarios as raging through with your instruments. Musicians need to remember that and sometimes they do not. When musicians play with artists like Steve Kimock or John Scofield, they must remember to allow these guitarist to shine and not overpower them for any reason. It’s a skill you learn over time playing with different artists. Andy Hess can back any musician, allowing them to shine and still be dripping with sweat holding down his spot on stage with a fury. SOLID!
First Set: You’re the One, Nang Chalk Pipe, Many Rivers To Cross, Baby Baby
The second set was KILLER! A personal favorite, Tangled Hangers, had Steve dropping the fusion-y solos and John Molo’s rocking the audience out. However, it was when the first note of Tongue In Groove hit that made me so happy as it is my favorite Steve Kimock tune. As I inhaled the gorgeous beginning of this song, I looked around at the room which was filled almost solely with older men. The masculine beauty of this song was not lost on a single man 0r women in there. It’s the ultimate love song. Half way through, Pete Sears destroyed a solo that elevated the jam immensely. So tight! I am going to let the video speak for itself.
Golden Road‘s upbeat, dancing vibe brought out some hoots from the audience before people fell into their own dancing worlds. Peter Sears, yet again, showing his stellar ability on the keyboard without over shadowing Kimock. Another seasoned musician who knows how to withhold until given the window to let loose. John Molo holding down the rhythm with Andy Hess was such a pairing, the two melded seamlessly together. At times, I kept thinking they should be recording this for a live cd release.
I believe that many people’s disconnect with Steve Kimock possibly come from his lack of stage presence. I feel you on that. Tthere are times where he literally disappears off the stage for me but he never falters in his sound. The new generation of music lovers enjoy a hype show, that rager performance, the necessity of dancing and lights, the Chris Loftlin banging his head, Skerik raging in our faces. But with Kimock, well, he just sits on his stool with his glasses propped at the end of his nose dressed in all black, making it look effortless (almost boring as I know some feel). What you fail to see with this opinion is that he is pulling things off that other guitarists only dream of doing. So, when I watched as Steve Kimock walked to the microphone, busted out a killer smile and began singing Slow Down, which I believe is a Beatles tune, my jaw fell to the ground. YES, Steve Kimock sang. I couldn’t understand a word he said and that didn’t matter.
Last night’s show was the only time I’ve ever seen him say anything to the audience besides band introductions, and certainly the first time I’ve seen him sing (out of maybe…20 shows?). Even during interviews, he’s incredibly reticent, giving either two word answers, or near-nonsensical ramblings, punctuated by nervous laughter. ~ Josh W.
Second Set: Tangled Hangers, Tongue in Groove, Golden Road, Slow Down
This third and final performance of Steve Kimock’s residency had a distinct flow of comfortableness as a result of the musical experience that radiated off his musical support for the evening. Andy Hess, John Molo and Pete sears showed us how to do things right, putting Kimock on his well-deserved pedestal as they all shined along with him. And for someone who lacks stage presence during most of his performances, it was a wonderful treat to see Steve Kimock so spirited.