November 17, 2007
Ohio grown jam band quintet Ekoostik Hookah has finally come into their own as a live performance entity, and they weighed in with the force of their 2007 recording, Under Full Sail: It All Comes Together at Annie’s in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 17.
Beginning with the back end of the live disc side of the release, Hookah started the evening at a rapid moving pace with "When the Sun Goes Down." Bassist Cliff Starbuck and keyboardist Dave Katz harmonized while the rest of the ensemble traded solos, pushing the tune to near frenetic heights. A nod to the band’s 1994 recording, dubba buddah, followed in the form of Katz’s composition, "Comin’ Back to Me." A detour through "Descent into the Maelstrom" found lead guitarist Steve Sweney layering in generous amounts of feedback and distortion.
The Billy Preston-penned classic "Sister Sugar" received an extended heaping of vast enriching chunks of improvisation that featured the bluesy guitar licks of singer/rhythm player, John Mullins. The group chose to end the first set with an unusually involving number, "The Streetbeater," more commonly known as the theme song to the old television series, Sanford and Son.
Mullins took center stage to open the second set, snarling as the band ripped through a riveting "Carousel." And, the Cincinnati audience’s call and response skills were put to the test on "Abdega Gaga" which featured a beaming Starbuck, anchoring the instrumental with mischievous glee.
But, the evening’s crowning moment again returned to ’94’s dubba buddah in the form of back to back epic renditions of "Octofrye" and "Reciprocity" that showcased drummer Eric Lanese bashing away at the skins mercilessly. EH wound down their show on the banks of the great Ohio river with a bludgeoning run through of "Shooting Star – Keepin’ Time – Steeped in Tears." It was an overwhelming and appropriate end to another daring and driven Ekoostik Hookah concert.
Set 1: When the Sun Goes Down, Ohio Grown, Right Back Out in the Street, Gina, Comin’ Back to Me, Descent into the Maelstrom, Sister Sugar, Sweet Lucy, Intrepid Traveler, It’s Just the Way That It Is, The Streetbeater (Theme to Sanford and Son)
Set 2: Carousel, Abdega Gaga, Octofrye, Reciprocity, Shooting Star- Keepin’ Time- OSU Fight Song – Keepin’ Time – Steeped in Tears
Encore: Water Bear