"Ordinarily, we'd be done with that set," Kimock extolled as he pointed a finger at the fans in the room who knew full-well the protocol at a Steve Kimock show. "You know, he hit the fucking helmet and it should be fucking over," referring to a black metal army helmet perched prominently above Drummer Wally Ingram's Tom's awaiting it's singular moment to mark the end of each set. "But, NO! I think we'll play one more!" said the guitar virtuoso as he reached for his most prominently displayed instrument, a beautiful custom-made ebony and ivory Cripe Guitar, same guitars that Jerry played--for a ripping rendition of the (Little Sister Band), Kimock made classic, "You're The One."
The energy was exceptionally high at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio Friday evening as Steve Kimock and his band of legendary musicians took the stage. The Ballroom is the banquet hall of an old Polish social club with a small wooden floor surrounded by old-country folk murals of polish woman signaling the turns of a dance. This unique cultural environment was surely an influence on the band as they blew the show off the starting line with a jammed-out rendition of "Congo Man Chant" laden with Marley appreciation teases including a full verse of "Get Up Stand Up."
The high intensity continued throughout the first set as Kimock and crew delivered hard-hitting tracks including two, nearly 20-minute jammed versions of "Thing One" and a "High and Lonesome" where keyboardist Bernie Worrell pulled the band into the fusion jazz realm with teases from Herbie Hancock's, "Watermelon Man" to launch the jam. Some classic teases, some more obscure could be heard throughout the first set and those in the crowd with keen ears were lapping it up with glee.
The second set brought the party back down to more traditional Kimock fashions with the floaty, "Stella Blue" and a 30-minute space exploration in "It's Up To You" > "Better Get it In Your Soul" > "It's Up To You." The crashing drums of Wally Ingram and driving bottom of Andy Hess on the bass laid the foundation for Kimock and Worrell to dip in and out of improvisational onslaughts interwoven with the happy and uplifting composition of "It's Up To You."
With the evening approaching it's end well after 1 a.m., Kimock picked the remaining members of the generally older crowd up out of the lull he'd placed them in to close out the show with a fun and conservative rendition of The Talking Head's classic, "Take Me To The River." Bernie Worrell sang the Al Green/T'Heads lyrics in a bluesy spoken-word manner and Wally Ingram laid down the beat for Kimock to bring the heat. The overall impression of the show was positive and the playing was definitely as open and experimental as Kimock followers would expect from this guitarist and his ever-changing band of all-star musicians.