Brooklyn Comes Alive Facilitates Collaboration and Creativity
On a crisp fall night, Live for Live Music held a different kind of festival in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Brooklyn Comes Alive is a 12+ hour event across three renowned New York venues: Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and the Hall at MP. The lineup featured an eclectic sampling of individuals from veteran bands like Dead & Company, The String Cheese Incident, Disco Biscuits and Snarky Puppy to stalwarts like Dopapod and Break Science. The Live for Live Music team incorporated these 50+ musicians into a NOLA-inspired schedule of one-off collaborations, concept sets, and immersive tributes.
The music industry isn’t always the best at creating forums to explore the many facets of musicianship that exist outside the typical, revenue generating headlining act. Brooklyn Comes Alive strives to fill this void in the concrete city of New York, partly inspired from the improv-focused jazz and funk culture of New Orleans. The musicians truly reveled in it. Brooklyn Comes Alive has become an avenue for musicians to flex their creative muscles, turn possibilities into reality, and celebrate music in a setting that fosters mutual recognition and collaboration.
We started our day at The Hall at MP, a new venue started by Michelin star chef Michael Psilakis. The Hall was a perfect home base for the evening, Psilakis has truly done Brooklyn a great justice in his pairing of excellent restaurant cuisine and and intimate music venue. Tim Palmeiri, an extremely talented and established guitarist known for his work with Kung Fu, shredded through a funky set of upbeat rock and classic covers. Next was the intriguing Reed Mathis & Electric Beethoven making their NYC debut. Bassist Reed Mathis has called it the first “Classical Dance Music” band; they play jammed-out renditions of Beethoven’s entire 3rd and 6th Symphonies, with help from a classy lineup featuring Jay Lane (drums), Cochrane McMillan (drums), Todd Stoops (keys), Clay Welch (guitar) and guest sit-in Jason Hann on percussion.
The next few sets brought us to Music Hall of Williamsburg to witness a masterful Tribute to J Dilla which included hip-hop classics by A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes. Maurice Brown stood out during his passionate singing/rapping/trumpet performance as he led an all star cast featuring Borahm Lee, Adam Deitch, Adam Smirnoff, Nate Edgar, Stu Brooks, Maurice Brown and Chauncey Yearwood.
A “showcase” set by upcoming funk-tronica duo Brasstracks explosively welcomed the night and was packed with guest appearances. Especially memorable were rumbling lows of JNTHN STEIN’s 7-string bass and the soulful, upbeat performance by vocalist Fatherdude for “Telling the Truth,” an infectious track on Brasstrack’s new EP Good Love, also featuring Lido. Other showcase sets by Organ Freeman and RIPE were scheduled throughout the night, helping these up and comers capitalize on the thousands of potential fans flowing through Wythe Ave and N. 11th street.
The highly anticipated “Breaking Biscuits” set packed out Music Hall of Williamsburg once again with swarms of avid Disco Biscuits and Break Science fans. From the first moments of “Robot Rock” it was clear that the pairing of these jamtronica pioneers made perfect sense. Veterans Aaron Magner, Marc Brownstein, Borahm Lee and Adam Deitch vibed through keyboard and synth- heavy interpretations of genre bending classics which included DJ Shadow’s “Building Steam With a Grain of Salt,” Air’s “La Femme D’argent” and The Orb’s “Little Fluffy Clouds.”
The Earth Wind & Power set at Brooklyn Bowl was a spectacular highlight for anyone fortunate enough to witness it. There is no better band to take on the momentous challenge of paying tribute to such legends than The Nth Power. They have been making waves in the festival circuit and at venues around the country, pairing their flashy musicianship and soul-soaked funk and R&B into the ears of thousands for the past few years. The Shady Horns, the horn section from Lettuce, Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge, and Skerik, accompanied in style. Brooklyn Comes Alive may have put The Nth Power in front of more people than they’ve been able to on their own, and no one deserves it more than them. This inventive programming essentially created a peak festival experience; the combination of the prime 11:30pm set time and buzz generated from the Earth Wind & Fire name gave The Nth Power an incredible amount of exposure rarely seen outside of a summer, outdoor festival context.
Shares of DRKWAV’s avant-garde, psychedelic jazz and a rare performance by Jason Hann’s Latin-infused, world music project Rythmatronix wrapped up a beautiful musical smorgasbord in Brooklyn. It’s still surprising that so much happened between the hours of noon and 4am, the event truly created a festival experience despite the lack of grass. All hats are tipped to Live for Live Music for bringing such a thoughtfully curated and immersive event to the city that never sleeps, an experience well worth the ticket price. With so much room for expansion in the warehouse ridden Brooklyn terrain, we are beyond excited to see what the future holds for Brooklyn Comes Alive.