Sunday, September 16, 2012

High Space @ Brooklyn Bowl 9/4/12

It was a busy workweek but I knew I had to go to this.  I got there at around 9:30ish and the opener had just ended.  I heard she was good and had a pedal steel guitar in her band.  High Space with Special Guest Nels Cline came on at around 10:05.  I knew I wanted to go, but had no idea what it was going to be like.  I just thought the lineup was intriguing and sounded good.  Once they started I realized we had the ingredients for greatness on the stage.  It is a jammy spacey stellar instrumental band.  Sometimes, Nels and Jim would take turns playing the lead.  Whatever they were doing as the lead was amazing.  Whatever they were doing when they were accompanying each other on the lead was amazing.  Nels also had a box with lots of dials next to him and he was doing cool sounds with that as well as his guitar.  There was one point where Nels and Eric got into a call and response thing that was killer.  The bass and drums were so right for this.  I bet the band is awesome without Nels as well, but he did add a lot.

I had to leave to be fresh on the morning.  I heard they were going to do one 1.5 hour set, but I slipped out after about an hour, when they were doing a slower song.  It was the only way.

Tony Mason, drums 
Erik Deutsch, keyboards
Jeff Hill & Jim Campilongo w/ Nels Cline (Wilco)

Opening Band info:
Alana Amram & the Rough Gems
Since 2003, Alana Amram and The Rough Gems have built a loyal following and recorded prolifically. Awaiting the Flood says"Amram's voice is distinct and mesmerizing.... haunting." "The Rough Gems provides drive in the way Crazy Horse added a punch Neil Young's music" - No Depression. Pick Up on Delancey 7" (2007), Self - Titled EP (2008), were followed up by Alana's traveling chronicles - Painted Lady LP (2010). "I have a real good feeling that we'll all be seeing a lot more of this up and coming star" The Fader wrote.

In 2011 Alana made her critical breakthrough with Snow Shadows: Songs of Vince Martin (2011). Her interest in Fred Neil led to a tribute album to Fred's lesser known singing partner, 60's folk legend Vince Martin. This record not only exposed Vince's music to a new generation but also was Alana's most successful record to date. Snow Shadows featured string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks and John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful.) Elmore Magazine wrote, "The Rough Gems strike pure gold.... Aural pleasure and lyrical treasure take you on a fantastic, romantic, wild ride." Blurt Magazine summed it up simply, "She hits her mark".

Alana is a second generation road warrior (as a little girl she would sleep offstage in guitar cases while her gifted father, composer/ performer David Amram played late into the night) and has played over 100 live shows around the country each year. She has been featured live on NPR, WFMU, WDVX, WMBR, WFUV, WBAI, WNCW and other college and XM/ Sirius radio shows. Her music and unique style have been used by Stetson and Buffalo Trace Whiskey.

Always playing and fervently writing, Alana is in the process of recording a fourth LP, Motorbike. This batch of songs - heavily road tested - show the band's greatest maturation. They have expanded their genre melding sound, making the Rough Gems voice in rock and roll unique.

In addition to the band, Alana has played bass for Cliffie Swan / Lights (Drag City), Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black internationally and guested vocals on numerous recordings. She is a filmmaker/ visual artist as well.

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