Steve Kimock & Friends feat. Bernie Worrell
The Blockley Wednesday October 16, 2013
Words and Pictures by Natan Schwartz
Fall time, and especially Fall tour hold a special place in my heart. For Fall brings with it the need to push, to delve, to explore, and that is exactly what The American Babies and Steve Kimock & Friends w/ Bernie Worrell set out to do and man did they succeed.
American Babies started off the night with a bang, after releasing their newest album “Knives and Teeth”, Tom Hamilton and company embarked on a sensational fall tour showcasing their most recent musical jaunt to the world.
American Babies wasted no time. Their precise, tight and focused playing got the crowd moving early on. Tom is a wizard on the guitar, switching between searing solos, darker rhythmic playing, to intense delay effects, American Babies touched on genre after genre, texture after texture. They were searching for something, delving deeper and deeper. After starting off with a more upbeat country intro, they dived right into a dark searching jam that ended up segueing perfectly into the opening chords of Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue.
This welcome foray into the blues and depth that is Dylan showcased American Babies precision, they, led by Hamilton, have tightened up everything, playing with an intensity only experienced in the air of fall; with the cold weather forcing everyone inside, it is the perfect time to hone one’s musical prowess. Everyone was friends at this show, for this is always the case at The Blockley, with John Kimock (drums) sitting in with American Babies and later on in the show Hamilton (guitar) sat in with Kimock & Friends. Tom Hamilton and his group are not an act to be missed for the foreseeable future.
After a brief set break Steve Kimock & Friends with Bernie Worrell took to the stage.
Worrell, with so many years and so much experience under his belt, brought the crowd just a little bit closer in anticipation, for this is fall, a time for musical exploration of the highest degree, and we were ready for it. Worrell, 69, is a musical prodigy, learning to play the piano at age three. In the 70’s he developed the group Parliament, later in the 80’s he became a de facto member of the Talking Heads, appearing on a studio album, several solo albums, and multiple tours until the band officially broke up in 1992. As of 2012 Worrell has been touring with Steve Kimock, Wally Ingram and Andy Hess as part of Steve Kimock & Friends. He adds a dynamic funk element to the mix that is an essential component of the bands cohesiveness and functionality.
Steve Kimock took to the stage, rattled off a few jokes lightening the mood, then immediately dove into some supremely funky guitar lines, peacefully moving in and out. The full band interplay with Worrell was fantastic, goofy melodic lines floating from one to the next, smiles were exchanged due to the shear ease at which these expert musicians flowed through their music. The set felt like one long jam, gliding seamlessly between thoughts. All four members are exceptional in their own right, throughout the sets they continued to stay in their own element, in they own pocket, but within each members personal musical quest emerged a decisive, exploratory adventure that yielded delicious fruits of groove and funk.
This being a Steve Kimock show, everyone was hoping for a little taste of the Grateful Dead and we were not disappointed. Tom Hamilton joined Kimock onstage for a beautiful rendition of Scarlet Begonias. This turned into a multi-layered jam, dipping in and out of the original framework, tossing from Bernie to Steve to Tom and back around.
The music was big, the crowd was happy, the feeling was energetic, The Blockley threw down in the only way that is acceptable on a fall cold evening. The music went to the darkest and far reaching corners but always coming back to the original groove, reminding us of why we came together on this cold evening in October.
Bernie Worrell will be coming back to the stage on Friday December 6 with Marco Benevento, you will not want to miss this, both are expert pianists, and put on a fantastic dance party!
Steve Kimock: Featuring Bernie Worrell – John Morgan Kimock – Ron Johnson
The Blockley – Philadelphia, PA
*New One (no name for this song yet)*
TLC (tastes like chicken)
There’s Gonna Be Butter
**Scarlet Begonias w/ guest Tim Hamilton on guitar/vocals**
*#Red Hot Mama w/Guest Sim Cain on drums*#
Five B4 Funk
Many Rivers To Cross
Take Me To The River
***(All of set 2 with Camile Armstrong vocals and percussion)