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Mike Gordon @ The Fineline Music Cafe – Borangutan
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Mike Gordon @ The Fineline Music Cafe

November 21st, 2010
Author: Chris Shaffner

On a break from touring with Phish, bassist Mike Gordon and his band graced the stage at The Fineline Music Café Tuesday, November 16.  Starting out with “Can’t Stand Still,” the opening track on his new album, they sounded slightly disjointed, but by the end of the song the band found it’s stride.  Going into “Susskind Hotel,” Gordon got the crowd involved in a way I’ve never seen. He had a wireless drum sampler that he messed around with for a minute or two and after finding the desired effect; gave it to the crowd.  It was passed around for the duration of the song and each person who had it was coming through the PA with the rest of the musicians.  It was this connection with the audience that almost overshadowed what proved to be a tight and bass-driven rock show.

Gordon regularly plays for anywhere between ten and one hundred thousand people.  The separation on those massive stages may add to what appeared to be a bit of stage fright or hesitancy at first.  But, you could tell that once he warmed up he did truly enjoy the closeness, intimacy, warmth, the ability to make eye contact, etc., things that existed more when he played smaller venues with Phish in the eighties and early nineties.  He was also out front before the show, and the previous night hung out at a local bar, Downtime, chatting it up with fans and indulging patiently many requests for photos.  These experiences that many famous rock stars avoid added to the total package and the crowd was very appreciative and grateful for them.

The second set featured Alanis Morisette’s “Hand In My Pocket” that left people debating whether the song’s truly great performance outweighed the fact that it was kind of a cheesy cover!  And the bust out of “Funky Bitch,” a classic Phish song written by Son Seals, had everyone jamming.  They encored with “Sugar Shack,” a Gordon original recorded with Phish on the album Joy.

It was a successful stop in the Twin Cities as the house was nearly full on a cold Tuesday night and everyone left satisfied.  Not all knew the tracks yet off Gordon’s new album Moss, but the band performed them well and Gordon shined on the bass all night.  With some road sharpening and a healthy dose of water, the new songs will grow and come to form, like moss.

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