Bass In Your Face

Red Rocks 8.2 (D.Vann)

Red Rocks 8.2 (D.Vann)

While Trey was busy fulfilling a dream on Saturday night in New York City, Mike was on the road living his own, as a band leader of his own group, playing his own music.  And only five shows into his “Get Bassed” tour, Gordeaux is doing just that.  Mixing eclectic originals with an an array of diverse covers, Mike is at the forefront of percussive, bass-led jaunts largely rooted in the tradition of Americana rock.

Combining his signature, chunky bass lines with Scott Murawski’s southern-tinged melodies and layers of percussion, Mike’s band has delivered upbeat jams that are most often rhythmically focused.  The most popular songs from The Green Sparrow- “Another Door,” Andelmans’ Yard,” “Sound,” and “Traveled Too Far”- have become anchors of Mike’s sets while many other originals have been worked in.  Aside from his own songs, Mike has featured a wide spectrum of covers in the first week of tour.  Giving musical nods to Coldplay, Radiohead, Desmond Dekker, The Allman Brothers, Deee-Lite, The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Leonard Cohen, Mike has embraced musical diversity, both old and new.  In addition, the band has played originals penned by three other group members.

getbassedWhile Trey’s side-projects are, most-often, directly related to Phish’s musical future, Mike’s have been an opportunity to distance himself from his other band.  With Leo Kottke, The Duo, and now The Mike Gordon Band, he has taken advantage of his opportunities to broaden his horizons with musical experimentation unrelated to Phish.  But never forgetting what got him there, he always seems reference Phish songs; this past week working”Meat,” “Sugar Shack,” and GRAB’s “Suskind Hotel” into his sets.

With jams heavy on percussive groove and layered improv, The Mike Gordon Band has received rave reviews after “bassing” people for only a week.  To check out what’s been going on, I downloaded Saturday night’s show in Falls Church, VA to see what Mike was up to while Trey played in New York City.  This is what I found.

State Theatre, Falls Church VA

State Theatre, Falls Church VA

Opening the show with his two most recognizable numbers, “Another Door” and “Andelmans’ Yard,” the band spliced improvisational segments into both, creating engaging extensions of these songs’ changes and rhythms.  Very danceable music, it sounded like the energy in room on Saturday night was palpable.  The third song, “Emotional Railroad, scribed by someone Scott Murawski, and sounded a bit more generic with Garcia-esque runs up the fretboard by Murawski and complementary piano leads by Tom Cleary.  There was certain Grateful Dead feel to this one, as Mike included his envelope filter bass-bombs towards the end of the jam, and throughout the night.

Speeding up the tempo and seamlessly segueing into a new original, “Can’t Stand Still,” the band was locked into some fluid and spirited playing.  Communicating proficiently as they dug into the song, this didn’t sound like a band’s first week out on the road.  Their musical comfort with each other was clear as the music pulsated with Mike at the center.

Murawski and Gordon - Seattle '08

Murawski and Gordon - Seattle '08

Before the next selection, “Spiral,” Mike indicated that the band had only played it once and it was “an intentionally trippy song,” though he wasn’t “speaking from experience, just from conjecture.”  Following that sentence up with the absurd Gordonism, “Actually I’m not speaking at all,” they started the song.  As the slow opening unfolded, Mike’s lyrics crept out at the same tempo, creating a very trippy vibe, indeed.  This song sounds like one Phish could (read: should) adopt and interpret masterfully as a layered addition to their catalog.  Drifting into abstract psychedelia, this jam held the distinct feel of Grateful Dead-Phish fusion- some really engaging music.  My favorite piece of this show, I now await the day Phish breaks out “Spiral;” it will be sick.

Falls Church w/ Guenaur (M.Gordon)

9.12 - Falls Church w/ Guenaur (M.Gordon)

Inviting folk-rock guitarist, Reid Genauer, (Assembly of Dust, formerly of Strangefolk) to the stage, the band launched into a cover of the the Allman’s “Ain’t Wasting Time No More.”  Taking the tune for a somewhat generic ride, they eventually broke form with Mike’s pumping bass lines heading the charge as they segued into a textured take on Fatboy Slim’s “La La La.”  Check out the basscrabatics on this one, as Mike got straight silly.

Genauer stepped off stage and the band returned to Gordon’s music with “Sound.”  A song that embodies Mike’s emerging writing style- with melodies featured as prominently as his unique rhythmic concepts- in the vein of “Another Door” and “Andelmans’ Yard,” “Sound” is a favorite off The Green Sparrow.  A bass intro gave way to a soft, blooming arrangement that likened a comfortable musical swaddle.  Cleary’s piano leads lent a jazzy feel to the jam of this very collaborative piece.

Falls Church (M.Gordon)

Falls Church - 9.12 (M.Gordon)

With complex percussion, the band began “Sarala,” an impressive jazz composition written by percussionist, Craig Myers, himself.  Not only is Mike embracing the music of pop-culture and his musical roots, but he is also using his band a as a platform for his lesser-known bandmates to get some of their own music out there.  So far this tour the band has played songs written by all three other band members besides drummer, Todd Isler.

Breaking the music down into a more bluegrass-laced place, the band again transitioned from song to song into another original, “Couch Lady.”  While this is sounds like classic Gordeaux, this was definitely my least favorite piece in the show; but I don’t dig on bluegrass.  A cover of Radiohead’s “15 Steps” came next, illustrating Mike’s risk-taking and willingness to cover one of today’s most prominent acts.  Featuring  heavy bass work and organized cacophony, I wish I could say more in relation to the original, but Radiohead, like bluegrass, really isn’t my bag either.

Falls Church Soundcheck (M.Gordon)

Falls Church Soundcheck (M.Gordon)

Mike clearly has tons of music that no one knows about unless you are hitting up these shows, and he broke out another original to close the set, “Only A Dream.”  One of the longest pieces of the show, the rock composition turned far more interesting once the lyrics fell away, but still fell short of the most engaging pieces of the show.  Honoring the request of “Sugar Shack” for the encore, Gordon played a more bass-led version of his new Phish song before finishing with an inspiring and extended take on the Doobie Brothers’ cover “Takin’ It to the Streets!”  Never a dull moment with Michael Gordon.

Touring with a band of legitimate improvisers, Mike’s shows take on a the contours of dynamic band interplay, creating unique paths nightly.  Rooted in rhythmic textures, getting “bassed” has never felt so good.  Don’t let the lack of media coverage fool you- Mike is a secret agent after-all- the music being churned out by his band is both fresh and exciting, and if you can get your face in front of the bass, I highly recommend checking it out.

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

2001 > Disease” 9.29.99 II


The Pyramid’s enormous “2001” took it to the next level, and its energy spilled right into a blistering “Disease.”



2009.09.12 The Mike Gordon Band, Falls Church, VA < Torrent

2009.09.12 The Mike Gordon Band, Falls Church, VA < Megaup

getbassed-1Another Door, Andelmans’ Yard, Emotional Railroad, Can’t Stand Still, Spiral, Ain’t Wasting Time No More* > La La La*, Sound, Sarala^, Couch Lady, 15 Steps**, Only A Dream

E: Sugar Shack, Taking It To The Streets^^

* Allman Bros cover, Reid Genauer on guitar & vocals, ^ Craig Myers original, **Radiohead cover, ^^ Doobie Bros cover

Source: Schoeps CCM41V’s DINa>Sonosax SX-M2 + B&K 4023’s DIN>Neve Portico 5012 (Silk) HPF@65HZ>Sound Devices 744T @24/48 (Taper – Ned Struzziero)


2009.09.12 Trey and NYP, Carnegie Hall, NY < Torrent

2009.09.12 Trey and NYP, Carnegie Hall, NY < Megaup

9.12.09 (LiveMusicBlog)

9.12 (LiveMusicBlog)

I: First Tube, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Brain & Robert, Divided Sky, Water In the Sky, Pebbles and Marbles, Guyute Orchestral

II: Time Turns Elastic, Let Me Lie, You Enjoy Myself  E: If I Could

NEW Source: SP-TFB-2 > SP-SPSB-10 > MARANTZ-PMD620

Tags: , ,

182 Responses to “Bass In Your Face”

  1. SOAM Says:

    Fall tour-anyone-anyone???????

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    Miner, I don’t think there is a Party Time link yet. There are 3 tracks from it up on iTunes, and now one on the page

    I thought “Splinters of Hail” was part of TTE as well, the NYT referred to it, but looking at the actual track listings that section is called “Hailstorm” – so not sure about what’s up there

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Mr. C, I almost wrote that it has a 60s psychedelic scene feel like early Pink Floyd. Great minds…

    Miner, I haven’t seen a full link yet, but they are posting some songs on their facebook page. it is in their music player on the lefthand side along with BDT#L, Light, the Moma Dance from Deercreek (I assume this year), and some tunes from The Clifford Ball.

  4. llamalee Says:

    @ Miner, while were on subject of side projects maybe could we get your favorite of the benevento russo duo w/ mike for download of day coming up. i was a big fan of this project.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    ^^^ oh good call, I liked the little I heard of the duo with mike but didn’t have time to sift through sources at the time they were all circulating….

  6. Chuck D Says:

    As for the Cypress video links, they sent out an email on Sept. 9 with the The8tre link. There were only 4 vids up then as I remember. I’m pretty sure the Cypress vids got added last night, Sept. 14, without an additional announcement.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    just looked at my Nashville program. “Splinters of Hail” is an instrumental section of TTE, right before…”These are the reasons that we lay down….”

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    interesting! presumably, the NYT article was also referring to the playbill for the show. I don’t have a TTE

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    …handy, but no actually I do but don’t have time to dig through it…are these lyrics (as heard on facebook) in there?

  10. gus Says:

    No, the song “splinters of hail” thats on party time and that was just put on phish’s facebook is not a section of TTE – it’s a song of its own. and it rocks. sounds like something off of Billy Breathes. i think the program might have been wrong…cause on the trey studio of TTE that section is called “Hailstorm”, so I don’t know.

  11. sumodie Says:

    4 matrix shows are here, including Camden


    Video clips from past festivals at Fest8 site:

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    when I get home I’ll listen to this new track and the orchestral TTE section “Hailstorm” side by side, for curiousity, ’cause they wouldn’t be putting that in the playbills for nothing, would they?

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ weird…I doubt the world premiere program was misprinted…maybe he changed the name of the TTE section and took the name for another song…gonna listen now

  14. sumodie Says:

    A matrix copy of the Camden show (also Alpine 6/21, JB 6/5, and the Fox Theatre) is here:

    Phish festival video clips at Fest8:

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    is it the same track on the NYT review?

  16. snigglebeach Says:


    There is a slew of Phish video previews. this is where i got linked to at the end of the earlier posted vids.

    Has some others, most i have seen

  17. Matthew Schwarz Says:

    Funny. I’m out to sea in the Asia-Pacific — you guys are all awake while I’m sleeping.

    For all those willing to help me out, thanks!

    I CAN access mediafire.

  18. youenjoy09 Says:


    for some reason, when i look up your mediafire page, it says ‘no files or folders’… did you take everything down?

  19. CJ Says:

    Will the Carnegie torrent be up and running again any time soon? I have the MegaUpload downloading (takes a while there) but the torrent link is broken for me. Or is it just me?

  20. sumodie Says:

    Seems my two postings with links have disappeared…or else both will show up soon….


    Saw the Mike show last week in Somerville MA, and I’m finally getting to comment now. Great show, yes, but I enjoyed the band more last year. The band seemed a little rusty and/or nervous initially, with Mike admitting that they were going to premiere two brand new songs, which is ‘not a very mature thing to do’, with Mike concluding that he’s never been very mature -lol.

    Mike’s parents and other family members were at the show -if I’m not mistaken they were sitting one row up from me across the aisle -very cool to see them there. Made the whole show feel very intimate and special, though the show was sold out. Mike dedicated a song to them at one point.

    Honestly, I did not clearly recognize much of the music, though I have all of Mike’s solo stuff. Love Scott on guitar, though he seemed a little uncomfortable on a couple of the Mike/Kottke songs. The keyboardist (Tom Cleary) is pretty good too, but I thought his song (Nobody Home) seemed a little out of place compared to the rest of the music played that night. Loved Scott’s song, The Field. The Leonard Cohen and Coldplay covers were pretty cool too.

    Thought the show really took off near the end, when Mike and Scott got to really rip together. I think those two play really well together -I never look at Scott and wish he were Trey. Mike seems to have a great relationship with Scott, which is altogether different from the way it is with Trey -all very refreshing.

    The last two songs, Suskind Hotel>She Said, were phenomenally great -whew!!! Wished they’d hit their stride earlier, but hey, this was only the second show of the tour. They must really be hitting their groove about now.

    All in all a very worthwhile night out on the town. Can’t wait to see them again (but won’t drive the 3.5 hrs to Burlington VT -my tour radius for Mike doesn’t extend as far as for Phish and Trey).

  21. sumodie Says:

    OK, I’ll try this a third time:

    The matrix Camden show is posted at pirate bay by ‘tomelope’. If you google “pirate bay tomelope”, you should find the link easily. He has also posted matrix versions of 6/21 Alpine, 6/5 JB, and the Fox Theatre.

    The newly released Phish festival video clips are all posted at phish’s festival 8 site. Go to the Fest8 site and click on the “The8tre” link.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    well, crap. apparently my mediafire disappeared. I wonder if someone saw it that didn’t like something I had up there.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    no message or anything…just all gone

    well, so it goes

  24. sumodie Says:

    As for ‘Joy’, I must admit I am more impressed with the whole album than I thought I’d be. It sounds awesome when using headphones. All the songs sound very crisp with extra nuances that we don’t hear in the live setting. Perhaps the best sounding Phish album? (Not saying the quality of the song writing is necessarily best)

    I think the whole album is available for dl at amazon(?) for only $3.99 -I think I saw the offer on

  25. whole tour! Says:

    i just got home from work…haven’t had time to read all the comments yet…

    did someone post a link to ‘party time’?

    and yes, the cypress vids were unannounced…until i announced them last mindblowing. It’s crazy to watch those vids and compare the memory in my head from about 20 rows back DFC at cypress. The videos are outstanding, but the memories in my head trump the videos. The videos only scratch the surface…tip of the iceburg.

Leave a Reply