Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Busts Out Rare Radiohead Cover During A Wild Night 4 At Brooklyn Bowl

first_imgJoe Russo’s Almost Dead returned to their home court of Brooklyn Bowl last night for night four of the 2017 “Fall Ball,” and with them, they brought the ferocious improvisational style that has become their trademark. It was a night filled with wild and aggressive playing, crazy teases, intense energy, crowd sing-a-longs, birthday cake, and an out-of-left-field Radiohead cover that sent the Bowl into a frenzy of confusion and excitement. There’s a lot of hyperbole surrounding the almighty Almost Dead, however, it must be noted that the band continues to deliver incredible performance after incredible performance with an unmatched ease and comfort.The Fall Ball is the Autumnal cousin of the annual Freak’s Ball, organized by the famous Freaks List of New York. The Almost Dead originally formed as a one-off band for the 2013 edition of the long-running Freaks Ball, and the band holds a special relationship with the group of fans who helped mold them. That relationship was evident last night, as the crowd was filled with custom t-shirts celebrating guitar player, vocalist, and Freaks List favorite Scott Metzger, who was celebrating his 40th birthday. The “Wolfpack / Metzger 40” t-shirts were a surprise for Metzger, and the crowd took delight all night as he surely noticed more and more people around him grinning widely as the joke was revealed.The band’s homage to Metzger’s fourth decade was more straightforward: they opened the night with forty consecutive hits, building the tension until dropping into Bob Weir‘s political classic “Throwing Stones.” This was a raucous version, led by Metzger of course, that was punctuated by a pulsating rhythm and lots of ambitious jamming. The band wove at least three unique sections of improvisation into the fabric of the song. Joe Russo showed off his octopus-esque abilities on the drumkit throughout, moving around the kit with ease as he anchored the band during the impressive opening segment. The improv was so deep that the seamless transition into “Jack Straw” was a surprise to many in the room. The crowd howled with excitement as they caught on, and they sang along loudly to the song’s opening verse. The energy in the room was already palpable and tremendous, a sure sign that this would be a special evening throughout. Sometimes a show just has “it,” and “it” became apparent during this emotional and energetic, Tom Hamilton-led “Jack Straw”.With the opening two songs lasting almost twenty-five minutes, “Jack Straw” eventually fizzled out into a “Duo Jam,” led by THE Duo themselves, Russo and keyboardist/pianist/organist extraordinaire, Marco Benevento. The two have used their off days between Fall Ball shows to sneak in some rehearsal time for their upcoming performance as the Benevento/Russo Duo at this month’s Suwanee Hulaween festival, and they seemingly couldn’t help but slip some of their hard work into this JRAD set. Marco shined brightly here, showcasing his diverse talents and enthusiastic playing while taking the whole crowd on a journey. He went so out there that even his bandmates seemed to be lost in the woods, but the confusion didn’t last for long, as a huge smile emerged on Marco’s face, and out of his roundabout playing came the melody of the plodding ballad “Ramble On Rose.”Next up, the band busted out the ultra-rare “Weather Report Suite Prelude” and “Part 1,” both played for only the second time ever, following a performance at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN back in April 2015, exactly 100 shows ago. While the band eschewed “Part 2,” the rarity was still appreciated and filled with lots of layered improv, with Metzger taking on some interesting parts that led the band into an impromptu jam on “My Sharona” by The Knack. The band moved into “Black Throated Wind,” using the song as a landing pad before eventually leaving the song unfinished as they meandered their way into “Scarlett Begonias.” The euphoric classic was met with open arms by the Bowl faithful, and the band returned their energy with a fun take on the fan-favorite.A few times throughout the first set, the band centered themselves around a swampy vibe that seemed to keep popping back up again and again. Well, to close out set one, the band dropped into “West L.A. Fadeaway,” and all of a sudden the swampy vibes made sense. The Bowl was filled with the song’s funky feel and downright dirty groove, the perfect way to end a high-octane first set filled with highlights. Before walking off stage, Russo encouraged the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to Metzger, and they sang it loudly as a cake emerged so he could blow out his candles and make a birthday wish. All in all, the band played for almost two full hours to open up this show, and the set break provided a much-needed breather for band and crowd alike.JRAD returned from their set break with a slow jam that built up into the bluesy “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.” The song was a bit of an energetic let down from the roaring first set, but the band made up for that with a wild, jazzy piece of improv that wound its way into one of the band’s most exciting segments: “Help On The Way” -> “Slipknot!”. For a band known for their wild jams, “Help” into “Slip” is one of their crown jewels, consistently setting benchmarks for the band. Tonight’s version was no different, whipping into many different directions as Russo continued his dominance of the kit. Dave Dreiwitz was on fire throughout the whole show, but he, in particular, turned it on during “Help” and never let down for the rest of the show, dropping bass-bomb after bass-bomb, redefining what it means to “take a walk” up and down the scales of his bass.The band was loose and aggressive, and they built “Slipknot!” to a remarkable peak that dropped directly into the biggest surprise of the night: a spot on cover of “The Bends” by Radiohead. The song has only been performed once before by the band–on Halloween night last year–and the audience seemed divided into two categories: those who were ecstatic, and those who were confused and didn’t realize what was going on. By the time Tom Hamilton starting crooning the song’s chorus, the whole room was in sync again, a euphoric vibe washing over the audience as JRAD crushed the Radiohead classic and moseyed their way into a huge version of the reggae-tinged “Estimated Prophet.”When Katie Jacoby quietly walked on stage, many in the audience knew what to expect. She has lent her talents to JRAD before, bringing her flying-v electric fiddle to several previous shows at the Bowl, and often joining the improvisational fray with ease. She fit right in as the band worked up “Tennessee Jed,”  giving the bluegrass-tinged song a much-needed twang, and she stayed on stage for the remainder of the set. The jam was intense, and Jacoby harnessed that tension with some dissonant, out-there playing. The band clearly loved what she was doing, and Russo signaled for her to continue building the madness. When the band finally landed on a calm moment, Metzger included a quick tease of “China Cat Sunflower” before building up the introduction to “Truckin’.”“Truckin’” served as the tease-centric highlight of the second set. “Cryptical Envelopment,” “Bird Song,” “Easy Wind,” and “The Eleven” were all clearly quoted alongside “China Cat,” and I’m sure that more teases were in there if one listens closely enough. Dreiwitz was absolutely remarkable during the long improvisation, linking up with Benevento for some really special moments. “Truckin’” transitioned into a jam based around “Born Cross-Eyed,” the perfect rhythmic blast-off needed to cap off the non-stop second set. The band took a quick encore break, returning to the stage for a fun take on “Tell Me Momma” by Bob Dylan, which they performed for only the second time ever.Joe Russo’s Almost Dead is an amazing and captivating live band, and they once again showcased that at Brooklyn Bowl during night four of the Fall Ball. Many have claimed that so many shows at one venue can become repetitive, but the fact remains that each and every Joe Russo’s Almost Dead show is compelling and special, and Brooklyn Bowl is where you can find the band at their most loose and comfortable. Last night’s show was just one of many examples of the greatness that this band can achieve when at the top of their game. JRAD returns to Brooklyn Bowl tonight for their fifth and penultimate show of the Fall Ball.Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY | 10/12/2017I: Throwing Stones @ -> Jackstraw -> Duo Jam # -> Ramble On Rose -> Weather Report Suite Prelude $ -> Weather Report Suite Part 1 $ % -> Black Throated Wind ^ -> Scarlet Begonias -> West LA FadeawayII: Jam -> Good Morning Little Schoolgirl * > Jam -> Help On The Way -> Slipknot! -> The Bends + -> Estimated Prophet -> Tennessee Jed @@ -> Truckin’ ## -> Born Cross-Eyed Jam @@E: Tell Me Momma [email protected] – Began with 40 Hits for Scott’s 40th Birthday# – With a Marco Solo$ – Not played by Almost Dead since 2015-04-22 at First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN, a gap of 100 shows (2nd Time Played)% – With a “My Sharona” (The Knack) Jam^ – Unfinished& – Sung by the Crowd* – Not played by Almost Dead since 2016-10-06 at Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY, a gap of 42 shows (2nd Time Played)+ – Radiohead cover, not played by Almost Dead since 2015-10-31 at The Ritz, Raleigh, NC a gap of 71 shows (2nd Time Played)@@ – With Katie Jacoby on Violin## – With Katie Jacoby on Violin, with teases of New Speedway, Cryptical, Bird Song, China Cat, Easy Wind & The Eleven and probably more$$ – Bob Dylan Cover, Second Time Played by Almost Dead[photo by @handisnax]last_img read more

Badgers use size to steamroll Lions

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoSTATE COLLEGE, Penn. — It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, and it wasn’t the most conventional by any means, but the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team picked up its first road win in more than a month Saturday afternoon with an 82-62 bulldozing of Penn State at Bryce Jordan Arena.And what a bulldozing it was. Sophomore Brian Butch bruised his way to 23 points and 12 rebounds, both career-highs, and UW outscored Penn State by an astounding 28-2 in the paint during the second half, helping the Badgers shoot 50 percent from the field. All of this despite limited production from leading scorer Alando Tucker, who spent most of the game in foul trouble.”We knew coming in we had an advantage height-wise, so we just tried to capitalize on that,” junior forward Jason Chappell said of the Nittany Lion squad, which only sported one player taller than 6-foot-6 who saw more than four minutes on the court.For Wisconsin (17-7, 7-4 Big Ten), the triumph marked the first road victory since squeaking out a 64-62 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 10. It was the team’s sixth victory over Penn State (11-11, 3-8) in their past seven meetings.”There’s no question we have struggled on the road,” Butch said. “Today, we needed a road win and we got it, and that just shows how committed everyone in that locker room was to getting a big win.””A road win is always good, no matter who is it against,” Chappell said.Butch and the rest of the Badger big men had a field day against the undersized Nittany Lions and their zone defense, collecting 19 offensive rebounds and out-rebounding Penn State overall by 21 (45-24), the team’s largest margin of the season.”That was a big difference in the game,” Ryan said of UW’s work on the glass. “It wasn’t necessarily the first guy that touched the ball, but we got several offensive rebounds by the second guy grabbing the ball and keeping it alive.””Everyone was on the offensive rebounds,” Butch said. “You were down there, and you saw two red jerseys down there and you knew that everybody wanted this win.”Butch’s performance was good for the third double-double of his career. The big forward put on a clinic in the post, showing off his entire offensive repertoire by making 11 of his 15 shot attempts.”It’s good to see him provide a lot of scoring,” Chappell said. “It’s good he had his moves going.”Chappell had a career game as well, collecting nine rebounds and dishing out a personal-best seven assists, without turning the ball over once.”It’s making me feel I should be playing a different position,” joked Chappell, who also scored five points.The game began ominously for Wisconsin. After taking an early lead, the Badgers went through an all-too-familiar scoring drought that spanned 6:19, allowing Penn State to take a two-point lead at the half. The Nittany Lions were carried by forwards Geary Claxton, with 21 points, and Jamelle Cornley with 11. The duo was able to do as they pleased against the defense of UW’s big men early on in the contest.”People say Penn State is not that tall, but … they play hard and they’re strong,” Ryan said. “And in that first half, they were so strong in the paint, they were getting it where they wanted it and doing a lot of nice things.””We survived the first half,” Ryan concluded.However, the second half was a different story, as the Badger frontline played to their size and opened the half with a 16-4 run, giving Wisconsin a 10-point lead they would never relinquish. Much of the run occurred with Tucker on the bench, as the Big Ten’s leading scorer in league play picked up his third foul with 16:02 left to play.UW’s bigs also stepped up defensively in the second period of play, holding Cornley scoreless and allowing only one basket to be scored inside.”We did a good job today of catching ourselves,” junior guard Kammron Taylor said. “The games where we were struggling, we didn’t catch ourselves, we just dug ourselves a bigger hole.”For all of the Badgers’ interior superiority, the game’s leading scorer wasn’t Butch or another UW big man, but Taylor, who hit a career-high six 3-pointers on seven attempts, pouring in 24 points.”Most of my threes came off of kick-outs and penetration,” Taylor said, crediting the inside work of the forwards. “I was doing a good job of showing myself, and my teammates did a good job of finding me.”Although there were only eight turnovers total, the game wasn’t the most picturesque 20-point blowout ever played. At times it was downright ugly, as both squads threw up a bevy of air balls and had several clumsy drives into the lane, but UW miraculously seemed to often benefit from such plays.On one such possession in the second half, sophomore guard Michael Flowers appeared to dribble the ball off his leg on the perimeter. After spinning around a bit to regain possession of the ball, he cut towards the basket and made a no-look pass to Butch who was crashing the boards. Butch didn’t catch the ball cleanly and looped a shot that started at his knee, and ended over his head and off the glass and in the basket for two points.It was just that kind of day for Butch and the Badgers.”To come out with a win was really, really good here,” Butch said.last_img read more