Los Angeles, California
August 26, 2008
For three decades The Roxy has enchanted fans and artists alike with its intimacy, great ambiance, and killer sound. The doors opened, the curtain lifted, and it was here that Mike Gordon made a stop on his summer tour to share his music, his latest album The Green Sparrow, and himself.
Opening with "Another Door" from the the new release, the crowd was immediately hooked. "Meat" set the evening’s energized, positive pace with a sweet percussion. "Voices" was a groovy rift with visual lyrics that are difficult to get out of your head; one fan even remarked, "I could listen to this music for the rest of my life."
Tuning into his bass, Mike seems to float off into another place, while still leading quietly with a strong sense of direction. It’s interesting to be so close to a performer. You have the chance to notice their little nuances, and gain a better understanding of what is unfolding before your eyes. Gordon seemed more serious than usual. His music remains fun but he was more focused, playing with drive and intent.
With his fresh array of sounds, Mike put himself out there, but remained calm as he delivered to the audience a fearless set of his creations. Gordon and his band (Scott Murawski on guitar, Craig Myers on percussion, Tom Cleary on keyboards and Todd Isler on drums) are a tight and cohesive ensemble. Supporting Gordon’s endeavors masterfully, all are virtuosos.
During "La La La" Mike’s natural tenor vocals got a vigorous workout but were warm and smooth just like his bass. Gordon’s presence was confident, calming, and somewhat mysterious, true to the nature of his new album.
Further into the set the band had the pleasure of being joined by a few guests. Jenny Hill’s saxophone was a gorgeous addition during the feel-good loving song "Radar Blip," which was followed by "Brawlin’," a funky rhythm and blues collaboration with Puff Daddy’s former assistant Fonzworth Bentley.
The whole room elevated to a new level when Marco Benevento joined the action on stage. Taking our breath away with a massive wall of sound and good times with a rebel-rousing rendition of the Doobie Brothers? "Takin’ It to the Streets."
The rest of the evening became more musically playful. Leading us right into the encore, "Alphabet Street," Gordon and crew tore it up exchanging knowing glances as the last notes of the night resonated through the enthusiastic crowd. One fan exclaimed, "Mike was playing like I’ve never heard him before." The curtain may have come down but when one door closes, another opens, and we are glad that behind this door one can find a beautifully evolving Mike Gordon.
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