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Sunday, August 6

Electric Beethoven Extended Party Time eWith Their Inavative Improvisation At American Beauty

Electric Beethoven Extended Party Time eWith Their Inavative Improvisation At American  Beauty

The venue American Beauty on 30th St in the heart of New York City has an atmosphere like no other. Without any expectations of what the venue or music would bring to me, I walked in the venue blindfolded. Just a short walk from Madison Square Garden, American Beauty is a Grateful Dead themed nightclub/ concert venue. They held a pre and post show at the venue every night of Phish’s Bakers Dozen. There were some heavy hitting pre parties that included free pizza and sometimes even free admission to some shows, such as The Mallet Brothers and Half Step (A celebration of Jerry Garcia’s birthday) as well as many others. Some nights they had a concert upstairs in “Jerry’s Lounge” and downstairs as well.  A great place to gather before the concerts at Madison Square Garden and link up with your crew and fill your stomach without hurting your wallet, if you enjoy pizza that is, who doesn’t like pizza? 

Once Phish was done blowing the minds of 20,000 plus people at Madison Square Garden many folks would walk the way of American Beauty without realizing what music was happening there. I interacted with many folks who stumbled upon the show I attended, Reed Mathis and Electric Beethoven which included Todd Stoops (RAQ, Kung Fu), Kenny Brooks (Ratdog), Jay Lane (Ratdog and Primus), and Clay Welch (Who I had never heard of but was very satisfied with his guitar work). Upon walking into the venue that night with our photographer, Mike I looked at the stage and said “this is the main stage?” I like small intimate venues like this. It seemed to be a sort of cabaret/nightclub with cages for dancers (or photographers) lifted above the floor. 

The band came on, the people kept filtering in. Seemed like a good time to grab a drink and interact with the friendly staff that works very hard to keep a great environment at the venue. The bartenders were very nice and apologetic that we had missed the free pizza. Pizza was the last thing on my mind as I was anticipating this heavy dose of improvisational funk that Electric Beethoven is known for. The band started on a slow note to get peoples legs moving again, within ten minutes the venue was packed and everyone was on their feet dancing and mingling, the venue is so intimate it felt as if everyone had a personal connection with the band some of the members being jam band legends. It being Jerry Garcia’s birthday I know I was expecting a nod to Jerry or two by them playing a Grateful Dead song, they covered the song Deal, a staple in Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band concerts. The energy in the crowd seemed to feed the band what they needed. Playing non-stop from 12:15 a.m. until about 3:15 a.m. The venue is so well hyped that even Jon Fishman of Phish came to check it out! When the band went on their brief set break, the rumors of Fishman being in the building were spreading between the outside smoking area to the front of the stage. Although he did not play with the band he was present and encouraged the band to come out for one more song. 

They encored with was a fabulous rendition of a heartfelt Jerry tune called Standing on the moon with some nice improv going throughout the whole song which topped out about thirteen minutes overall. The band had ended their set and the crowd was in no rush to go anywhere, the friendly staff allowed everyone to finish their drinks and mingling without pushing us out like most venues. Whenever going to New York City or if you are a resident I highly advise to stop in American Beauty for their wonderful beer selection, staff and environment.
Stay tuned for your dates and a live album iim the near future. 

 Words: Sam Rubin
Photos: Mike Geller

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