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Thursday, February 13

Review and Photos: Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY - Jan 31, 2014

Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds have been entertaining crowds and gaining fans throughout the country over the last five years, offering up an energy packed evening full of original music with the occasional cover sprinkled in along the way. Starting off 2014 in their hometown the band decided to do something special by covering an entire album. Coming together the band began to throw around idea after idea until they were able to narrow it down to ten albums. With that done the fans were then given the option to vote on the one album they most wanted to hear. the fans were faced with selection ranging from Aretha Franklin to The Band. Each of these albums offered plenty of unique reasons why it should be the winner, but in the end the fans spoke overwhelmingly selecting Led Zeppelin IV. Leaving the band faced with the task of covering one of music’s greatest bands of all time.
The completely sold venue was packed with fans shuffling around in search of the perfect spot all waiting for the band to take the stage. There was an overwhelming buzz throughout the room as the band quickly huddled up one last time before taking the stage. As this was happening I caught a glimpse of Sister Sparrow herself doing some last second pushup’s back stage, making it clearly obvious that the fans were not the only ones amped up for this performance. Drawing from this energy the band jumped right into a well-crafted version of Michael Jacksons “The Way You Make Me Feel.” This upbeat tune seemed to be a perfect start for the evening, allowing the band to get into a groove that found the whole venue dancing and singing along. With the night in full swing it become apparent that they are giving the packed house much more than just a cover album as they rip into the evenings 4th song and a band original “Make It Rain”.
 Showcasing the powerful horn section as well as Jackson’s stellar harmonica work this song has Sister Sparrow herself dancing around the stage, delivering one the most soulful performances of this tune I have seen. Keeping this type of energy up throughout an evening is not an easy task but one the band seems more then equal to as the crowd instantly recognizes the powerful horn and bass intro and begins to scream “Crawdaddies “ as the band rips right into it. This song happens to be one of my favorites, fully allowing a new comer to their music to hear exactly what they can do individually and as a collective. Closing out the first portion of this evening on an extremely high note as the lights begin to dim and then band seems to take a brief moment to prepare for what lie ahead.
As the lights return to the stage the band jumps right into Zeppelin IV, exactly what this venue full of fans had come to see. Right out of the gates it became apparently clear the band took much care and time reworking the album to fit their overall make-up, with the horns taking on some of Jimmy’s scorching guitar parts for this take of “Black Dog.” Lead singer Arleigh’s sultry vocals added a dark yet beautiful level of passion to next tune on the album “Rock & Roll.” As the band who seemed to be on fire from the opening notes worked in some well-placed “Bulls On Parade” teases, adding even more life to this already high energy classic, further placing their unique stamp on this legendary tune. The crowd who mostly seemed to be hanging on each note as the evening progressed erupted almost as if they weren’t expecting to hear “Stairway To Heaven.” This version was sped up slightly while still keeping the beauty of the song intact, intricately working their way through this timeless tune. Next up was “Misty Mountain Hop” instantly bringing the crowd right back to a peak energy as the band decided to push the envelope just a bit further dropping into “Diamonds On The Souls Of Her Shoes” off of Graceland by Paul Simon. This was very much unexpected and very well done as the band transitioned between the two seamlessly, creating a beautiful version of this song. With the set winding down Arleigh thanked the crowd once again for being a part of this special evening and for selecting this amazing album for the band to play, giving Sasha and Josh the chance to trade their instruments for a 12 string and Acoustic respectively, leading the band into “Going To California.” This beautiful song was a treat showing the emotional and tender side of a band that Has shown they can do it all, giving the crowd a chance to soak it all in while catching a quick breath before the extremely high powered “When The Levee Breaks” all butlifted the roof off. With Bram’s powerful drums driving the tight and energetic interplay between the harmonica and guitar the band drove this album home, adding an extra level of power by bringing 3 members of “Zongo Junction’s” horn section into the mix. This was a maybe my favorite arrangement of the evening showing off the all-around talents of the band while ending the album and set in excellent fashion.
With the crowd demanding the night continue the band who had already left the stage returned thanking the packed house once again before treating them to one last Zeppelin tune “D’yer Mak’er.” This reggae infused tune off the Houses Of The Holy album was a fitting choice to end the evening taking one a whole new feel with the band mixing in some of their own tune “Vices.” This was indeed a very special evening from well delivered originals to the fans getting there choice album. Delivered in such a way that would have made the boys of Led Zeppelin themselves proud, while managing to add a fresh and unique twist making it all their own. As a fan of Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds and of live music I couldn’t have asked for a better evening. Upon leaving the venue I couldn’t help but wonder if this may just one day become the start of a yearly tradition, that I for one would be honored to witness time and time again.


Here is a link for the Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds website http://www.sistersparrow.com/
Words: Chason Heins
Photos: Mike Geller
 ©Grateful Music LLC