Video Bar


Wednesday, May 30

Steve Kimock with Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram and Andy Hess Exit/In -- Nashville, TN May 22, 2012

Steve Kimock has been a staple in the Jam-scene well before we whittled it down with such a label.  He co-founded the bay area psychedelic heavyweight band, Zero in 1984 and has not put his guitar down since.  His masterful career, at times has resembled a roller coaster; a journey devised by his own design and terms.  Over the years Steve has fronted countless ensembles and has been in many iconic bands.  The one constant denominator over the years is that he always delivers a bravura performance.  Nobody sings with his guitar quite like Kimock – he is a maestro in every sense of the word.  So when his current band visited the intimate Exit/In in a rare Nashville appearance, I was so excited while driving to the show, a cop pulled me over to assist in containing myself.  It worked…up until show time.
In an interview with me before the tour, Steve eluded that his bands kind of pick him.  It’s more about who is available and wants to play, he explained.  Luckily, the members’ of this band (who proved to be beyond description) schedules lined up.  This band of destiny consists of the grievous Bernie Worrell, most famous as a founding member of Parliament and for his long stint with The Talking Heads on keys.  On the bass guitar is Andy Hess from Govt. Mule and the Black Crows.  Rounding out the circle is journeyman drummer, Wally Ingram.  Steve Kimock has an uncanny ability of bringing the best out of musicians and this was evident all evening.  What transpired over the next two sets was pure bliss and is the reason I still search for the sound.
The monumental show started innocently enough with a Kimock staple, “Five B4 Funk” opener.  By the time the knowledgeable crowd shouted the first, “Woo,” it was apparent this band was firing on all cylinders.  The musical heights they reached in such a short span was awe-inspiring as the improvisation one comes to expect with Steve was on full display early and often. This formula served the epic, “Long Form part 4” perfect as Kimock’s guitar let loose from his stool atop the featureless stage.  It was obvious Bernie shares a special bond with Steve. They exchanged jams similar to boxers exchanging punches, holding little back.  Even the new material in the form of, “Hey Man,” did little to damper the vibe.  This upbeat reggae instrumental kept the dance floor shaking while displaying tremendous potential.  The band was having a blast, in return that sentiment spread throughout the hall like sunshine.  The coveted, “Tangled Hangers” followed with drummer, Billy Ward joining Wally on percussion.  A spot he did not relinquish for the remainder of the show.  This classic exploded under the direction of Steve’s fabled licks as the band’s sound drifted in and out of sacred realms.  The rhythm section shined all night as Wally and Andy surpassed my wildest expectations.  The masterful first set closed with an insane instrumental version of The Beatles’ classic, “You Can’t Do That,” with a, “Super Stupid” sandwiched in for good measure.  Before this musical odyssey began, Steve invited ladies from the crowd to join them on stage to dance to close the set with a festive vibe.
After a much deserved break, the band picked up right where they left off with The Toots and the Maytals’ classic, “54-46 (Was My Number).”  Steve has made this tune his own over the years and tonight was no different, taking it to levels the original never attempted to reach.  The remainder of the second set that stretched well past 1:00 a.m. never lost momentum.  Beloved songs such as, “Crazy Engine” and “You’re the One,” have not sounded so sweet in many years.  I am certain the smile plastered to Steve’s face has everything to do with the magic returning to his fingers.  His solos transported everyone to that scared space we long for time and again. It was early in the morning when the band arrived at the classic that is, “Tongue n Groove” and they could do no wrong.  This crowd favorite was played with as much vigor and passion as the opening number, over three hours prior.  In a fitting way to end such a remarkable evening, Bernie sang a rousing version of, “Red Hot Mamma” clearly directed at the young lady still dancing by his side.
Steve and this band have a special chemistry, with no egos or personal agendas; the result is the closest thing to perfection we dare hear.  Only time will tell if this group of musicians will stay together past their Jam-Cruise dates.  With Steve you just never can tell, but if his smile was any indication, this band is only beginning their journey.      

Words: Kevin Long

‎05/22/12 (Tue) Exit/In - Nashville, TN
Set I: Five B4 Funk, Part For, Hey Man, Tangled Hangers, You Can't Do That > Super Stupid > You Can't Do That
Set II: 54-46 (Was My Number), Thing One, You're The One, Crazy Engine, Tongue n 
Groove, Red Hot Mama  

 © Phish and The Dead - a Grateful Music Publication