The once brazen Kimock seems finer in his approach these days. The former phenom of the late era psychedelic scene of San Francisco has come a long way from his early days with Zero and Kingfish. His performances with Rat Dog, Phil and Friends, and Steve Kimock Band have become legendary, and the reason is that Kimock has finally solidified his place within the band dynamic. Instead of going all out and simply shredding, he has found a subtlety to his playing that allows for other musicians to engage and compliment wonderfully. I have seen this shift in Kimock’s performances coming over many years. At the Aggie, he seemed to come full circle. Balancing lead and jamming back and forth with legendary keyboardist Bernie Worrell.
The inclusion of Worrell in this lineup is simply breathtaking. This man has so much musical history that to see him play in a room the size of the Aggie is an awesome experience. Worrell single-handedly invented funk keyboard and played in two of the most influential bands in American musical history. No doubt he is getting up there in age, but at 68 he is still touring regularly with several projects. The rhythm section consisting of troubadour drummer Wally Ingram and former Gov’t Mule bassist Andy Hess are the solid foundation on which this group is built. Hess brought the funk from time to time, but mostly stayed in the pocket. Ingram too stayed consistent and conservative throughout most of the night.
They opened with an extended jam on Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up.”
SET I: Get Up, Stand Up, You Can’t Do That> Super Stupid, Sun, Sun, Sun, Hey Man, This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)
SET II: 54-46 Was My Number, You’re The One, Come Together, Y-Spy> Five B4 fUNK, Tongue ‘n’ Groove
ENCORE: Burning Down The House
Thanks to Taper Corey and Kind Recordings for the UPLOAD.
Kimock demonstrated his copious skills on the pedal steel for their instrumental take on The Beatles’ “You Can’t Do That.” They blasted off with Funkadelic’s “Super Stupid,” which saw Worrell on the rapid-fire lyrics and Kimock absolutely exploding on the slide guitar. The went into jazzy rendition of Zero’s “Sun, Sun, Sun.” In just the first half of the first set we were witnessing are real musical meld between not only Worrell and Kimock’s playing, but their actual song catalogs. Sticking primarily to instrumental tunes, original track “Hey Man” began much like a traditional jazz-infused jam, but soon broke down into the avant-garde with Worrell hitting pinging notes on his synthesizer and Kimock wailed away over the top. They ended the set with a much-anticipated trip to the Talking Heads catalog with “This Must Be The Place.” The musical side of the song was top notch, but unlike “Super Stupid” Bernie’s vocals were choppy and he seemed fatigued at times. They jammed on this classic well past the ten-mark before calling the first set to a close.
The band returned to the stage with Toots and They Maytals’ “54-46 Was My Number.” It was a nice way to ease in the set and really demonstrated the diversity of both Hess and Ingram in the rhythm section. “You’re The One,” another Kimock original jam, contains some heavy give and take between Kimock and Worrell, before they busted out their second Beatles jam of the night with “Come Together.” “Y-Spy” was a funky journey that finally saw Hess really taking it up a notch. They segued beautifully into “Five B4 fUNK” which is another Kimock original. They finished the set with a delicate Kimock tune “Tongue ‘n’ Groove.” It was beautifully constructed from the ground up with the virtuoso guitarist showing his range. They encored with the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House.” Again Bernie sang and it was a little rough, but the enthusiastic crowd backed him up with a massive sing-along. All in all it was one of the best Kimock shows I’ve seen and best lineup he has put together in years. I hope they continue to tour, write, and grow as a group. There is such an immense amount of talent in the band. It would be interesting to see how they sounded together after a couple years of regular touring.
Summer Camp has had so many artist grace their stage over the years, that if you go to any show chancres are the majority of them have played Summer Camp. While the headliners Juno What have yet to play SCamp both Euforquetra and Bernie Worrell have made the trip. My jam-packed weekend of music began with Juno What?!’s headlining show at Cervantes with famed funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Much of what Worrell pioneered throughout his career with Parliament and to a lesser extent the Talking Heads is the basis for what bands like Juno What?! are doing today. So it made sense to toss them together in a live setting. Up first was Fort Collins based Euforquestra who continues to impress audiences up and down the Front Rage. Euforquestra continues to be one of my favorite shows to see live, they are a danceable journey into the abyss of world funk. Their sound is so undeniably eclectic and inviting I challenge anyone to see them and not have a good time. Here is their setlist from their hour and half onstage.
SET I: Backbone, Price Is Right, Hopscotch, Ogun, MOMO, Soup, Reggaemylitis, Road Funk, Hang Ups, 2007, Free> Pure> Excuse O> Free, What Cha Want
This set has it all including a sick version of Peter Tosh’s Reggaemylitis with Grundstad on vocals. Mike Tallman has to be one of the most underrated guitarists playing around Denver these days. He quite simply shreds with amazingly smooth finger work. The Free sandwich shows how tight they have become during their time inc Colorado, but the highlight of the show had to be their tribute to the late, great Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Also known as MCA, his passing is a huge loss to the hiphop community. The Euforquestra boys thought it was appropriate to honor him with a cover of What Cha Want. They invited three MCs to the stage and busted out a compelling close to their set.
Juno What?! is an electro-funk outfit made up of Joey Porter and Steve Watkins on keys, and Dave Watts on drums. The lineup is unusual to say the least consisting of totally rhythmic instrumentation, however, the band is often joined by friends to help fill out their sound. On this particular evening those friends were many, most importantly famed funk innovator Bernie Worrell, as well as members of The Motet and Euforquestra. The night’s theme as an all out dance party continued strong when Juno What?! opened with their now classic Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get with Joey on the talk box. It just set the mood for the entire night as the kids on the floor started their two and a half-hour boogie marathon. They were soon joined by Bernie who fit into their sound like a well-worn glove. Watching Mr. Worrell at the keys is simply spellbinding. There is just something indescribable about seeing such a leading light in the world of funk performing right before your eyes. His weathered hands stroke the keys with amazing comfort. It’s like seeing an old married couple still experiencing love after many years of wedded bliss. Highlights included a rowdy We Want The Funk and a sick “Red Hot Momma.” Seeing Porter play with one of his heroes was the icing on the cake. It was a great night of fun for everyone in attendance. I hope we can all do it again some time.
Juno What?! graciously offers up their recordings for free download here. http://junowhat.net/multi-media/about/