Catskill Chill Wednesday Jams: 8/8
For the second consecutive Wednesday, the proprietors of the Catskill Chill brought the chill to Sullivan Hall in New York City’s Greenwich Village. One intangible essential to creating a successful festival is nurturing a sense of community among patrons, and these Wednesday night jam sessions go a long way towards achieving that goal, creating an intimate vibe with great music, live painting and ticket giveaways. This installment featured Catskill Chill cabin collective ShwiKus (i.e. ShwizZ and FiKus) along with jam scene stars Tim Palmieri of Kung Fu (and the formerly Psychedelic Breakfast) and Steve Molitz of Particle (and sometime friend of Phil).
After the rowdy roadhouse crowd drawn by the early Doors tribute show filtered out, ShwizZ kicked things off with a tightly synchronized onslaught of technical progressive funk prowess. Augmented by a saxophone duo for much of their succinct set, the trio plus ran through complex tunes ranging from their own compositions to those of the inimitable Frank Zappa.
FiKus followed up with a high energy set leaning heavily towards the electronic side of jam rock. The lighting director did an excellent job illuminating the darker dancier jam excursions of the suburban Jersey ensemble. FiKings filled the dance floor and the party kicked into a slightly sweatier gear.
Shortly after, the evening’s special guests ambled on stage. Palmieri and Molitz are both highly talented survivors of turn-of-the-century jamband also-rans, The Breakfast and Particle respectively, both of which once seemed poised for greater success. The music scene is a cruel mistress, but the cream generally rises to the top and there’s always a place for talented improvisational musicians.
Soon, the haphazard band, which transmogrified sporadically throughout the evening, stumbled into a crowd-pleasing rendition of the disco Dead classic “Shakedown Street.” The rest of their set was predictably jam heavy and the guests traded intricate leads over appropriately funky bass lines. When you’re making it up as you go, it helps to stay loose, and the relaxed atmosphere fueled a frenetic musical journey arriving at a familiar destination
The disco punk riff of the Talking Heads‘ “Psycho Killer” (one of my all-time faves) soon swept over the crowd in a shared moment of realization, providing an auditory treat for those midweek stalwarts of chill. Thinking the high point had come and gone, the long ride home began, but apparently another nugget was just missed – a closing take on the Captain Beefheart/Zappa ditty, “Willie The Pimp.”.
So make sure to catch an upcoming Catskill Chill Wednesday Jam for some stellar instrumentals, choice covers and upbeat dance floor shakers. Experience what the Catskill Chill is all about. It’s almost here.
Upcoming Wednesday Jams
August 15 – Yarn, Caravan of Thieves, FiKus
August 22 – Wyllys & Todd Stoops, lespecial, FiKus
August 29 – Royal Family Presents: SHMEEANS and the Expanded Consciousness featuring Adam Smirnoff, Chris Loflin, Pete Levin, and Adam Deitch