Freaks Ball XV, Brooklyn Bowl Jan 23 & 24, 2015


Photo by: Scott Harris

Set lists and taper links are below.

There has been much chatter about the incredulous 2015 Freaks Ball JRAD shows.  Two sold out shows at The Brooklyn Bowl.  Lines around the corner. Chicken, pizza and beer freely flowing. Here is my take on what went down this weekend in Brooklyn.

Metzger, Hamilton, Dreiwitz, Benevento and Russo are monsters in their own right.  Metzger and Hamilton were switching the Jerry part (playing and singing) all night, in a tight succession.  This is not FURTHUR, which (to me) seems about a half step slower than needed.  This is not Phil and Friends, which again, seems a bit slowed down for me.  This is JRAD, a bunch of hot musicians playing an upbeat, quick paced Grateful Dead. Their energy sounds reminiscent of the cassettes I used to listen to, of the early day GD shows.  JRAD’s pace blew me away the first time I saw them, years ago at another Freaks Ball.  This is also why I continue to see JRAD again.

Night One of The Freaks Ball was the first time the band played all those tunes, and it is safe to say that for the rest of the JRAD tour, these songs will be in the rotation.  I particularly loved the Iko Iko > Mississippi Half Step > Sugar Mag.  It reminded me of a GD show in the late 80s.

All of these songs were executed perfectly.  They certainly didn’t sound like it was a first time performance. However, the audio is up on – you can decide for yourself.


Photo by: Scott Harris

Second night, there seemed to be a shimmer in the room.  Electricity was bouncing before the band even hit the stage.  From the moment they hit the first note of Alligator, The Bowl was in blast off mode.  Jack-a-Roe was a super tune – need to go back to listen to that as well as Ophelia (what? Ophelia?)  Yes, Ophelia.

Second set though, I wanted a fancy Help>Slip>Terrapin (hey, one could wish right?)  Much to my surprise and chagrin, I got my Help>Slip.  Help was perfect, and then there was this riff, this jam, this hard squealing guitar before Slip that I still can’t get out of my brain.  It certainly wasn’t Slipknot, because they only did a few repetitions of Slip.  Metzger was crushing his guitar, and I have itched to hear it again since Saturday night.  This was one of the highlights for me.  Then Shakedown quite literally may have shaken down The Brooklyn Bowl. The crowd was loving it.

Then there was the closer, Mountain Dew.  The house was quiet and attentive on the musicians on the stage.  I was mesmerized, as were most of the crowd.  Hamilton on vocals was spot on.  Goosebumps type of spot on.

This weekend’s music bliss was palpable for everyone involved.  The Freaks, the audience, JRAD.  Wow.  Freaks Ball throws another amazing weekend.  Thank you Freaks.  Thank you Mr. Shapiro. Thank you Mr. Costello.  Thank you…goodnight.

Night One: Set List and Taper Link:

Taper link:

Set 1:
01. intro/crowd
02. Alabama Getaway
03. Alice D. Millionaire ->
04. Greatest Story Ever Told
05. Black Peter ->
06. Lost Sailor ->
07. Saint Of Circumstance
08. banter – band intros
09. Big Railroad Blues
10. outro/crowd

Set 2:
01. intro/crowd
02. Feel Like A Stranger
03. Stagger Lee ->
04. Iko Iko ->
05. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo ->
06. Sugar Magnolia
07. Mission In The Rain
08. encore break/crowd
09. They Love Each Other

Night Two: Set List 

Set 1
01. Alligator (SM) >
02. Caution Jam >
03. Liz Reed Jam >
04. Jack A Roe # (TH) >
05. Uncle John’s Band >
06. Ophelia $ (SM)
07. Ramble On Rose (TH)
08. Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line ## (SM)>
09. Bertha (TH)

Set 2
01. Music Never Stopped (SM) >
02. Cumberland Blues & (A)
03. Help On The Way (TH) >
04. Slipknot!>
05. Shakedown Street (TH)
06. Truckin (SM) >
07. Space>
08. Morning Dew (TH)

09. Brown Eyed Women (TH)


Ed note:  Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015.  It seems/feels like I’ve been away from View Skewed for a long time.  In 2014,  I was writing for other outlets – The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, as well as  I also had my first article published in Jambase and finally had my first review PRINTED in Relix Magazine for my coverage of the Bear Creek Arts & Music Festival.  Overall, it was a good year for writing, but probably not my best.  Perhaps in 2015, I can change this trend.  As always, thank you for reading my words.


Some Cat From Japan, Brooklyn Bowl, 3.25.10

Some Cat From Japan Set: Hendrix Set.  Will Bernard dedicates the set to photographer Jim Marshall, who pas

sed away yesterday.  Cool.   Jim Marshall has taken the most iconic music photos.  You have seen them.  RIP Mr. Marshall.

Ok.  Now, here we go.  I have not seen any of these guys except Nigel Hall, keys and vocals and Will Bernard, guitar.  I do not know of Scott Metzger, guitar; Ron Johnson, bass;  and Louis Cato, drums.  I was in for a pleasant surprise.  I know better than to disregard insights from friends that know.

There was hardly more than 50 people in the house.  This truly was the antithesis of claustrophobia, and luckily for me I was able to twirl, take notes, get up close and take pictures and dance.  I love NYC for things like this – hardly a crowd yet totally insane rocking out on the stage.  Life is good.Nigel just does his James Brown wailing thing, outrageous on its own.  Will Bernard and Scott Metzger rage out on their guitars.  Ron Johnson keeps that funky bass line chugging along, all the while Louis Cato going sick on the drums.  This is a groove, a funky line that gets my body moving, all the while Hendrix bound through the evening.

Set List: Changes, Isabella, Crosstown Traffic, Manic Depression, Dolly Duger, Hey Joe, Freedom…. That is as far as I got, which is pretty good for me, Ms. Non-Setlist (w/ help from Tony).

Bernard is technically perfect.  He’s way frikkin talented.  The bowlers were making a racous, we heard screaming at one low point of the set, which was absolutely perfect.  I started laughing thinking either the screamers team just won, or she threw a strike.  Either way, it was pretty hilarious to watch these musicians jam while bowling was going on.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard the bowlers before.

This Cat from Japan was soulful, groovy, funk, having fun with those who were there, the crowd was appreciative.  Just have to say when Bernard wasn’t shredding, Metzger was, and both these guys can play that instrument extremely well, both technically and soulfully.  I enjoyed my evening, starting with my favorite Moonalice, ending with checking out a bunch of new guys that I’ve never heard before, and loving every moment.

Again, another smile.  Again, another night at The Brooklyn Bowl.

Moonalice, Brooklyn Bowl, 3.25.10 – Updated

Preshow: Line: none  Bar: empty  Dance floor: the anti-thesis of claustrophobic  Mood: Chill

I was supposed to be meeting a NYC Twitter crowd (finally!) but I have never met any of these people before, and this was hindering my ability to recognize anyone from a small little Twitter avatar.   Alas, we move on.

Grab a drink and a menu.  Settle on a potato knish and check out the surroundings.  The bowling lanes were packed.  I was having a series of déjà vu’s of the Bowlive craziness that went down while waiting for my food.  I feel at home at The Brooklyn Bowl, the vibe is always perfect.  Tonight was no exception.

Moonalice Set: Pete Sears, keys and bass; Barry Sless, guitar;  Roger McNamee, guitar and vocals;  Ann McNamee, vocals;  John Molo, drums.

Moonalice comes on a little after 8 and plays full through 10:15ish.  It was a nice set, they really sound great with Roger and Ann on vocals, Sless plucks that guitar eerily like Garcia.  I was told he plays the guitar made by the man who made Jerry Garcia’s guitar.  Well, the tone is the same.  Makes sense to me. My heels turn upward into a bouncy hippie jig that comes out only during certain tunes and certain types of guitar plucking, thank you Mr. Sless.   Pete Sears wails those keys, (he sings too!) and the bass.  Um.  When Barry and Pete go off together either while Pete is on bass and Barry is on either the pedal steel or the regular guitar… wow.  They go deep together.  John Molo on drums keeps the beat for everyone in the room, constant, like a metronome.  Close your eyes.  Listen to the groove.  Fun.  Bouncy.  Sweet.

Roger McNamee gives a shout out to the Twitter-verse and the Facebook crowds, which was very cool.

After a team huddle, they played the sweetest Stella Blue.  Sears singing, Sless plucking, Molo keeping time.  Wonderful.  Sless decides to sit for a while at the pedal steel guitar.  It gave the song this sweetness, this intermingling of notes that twinkle…that shine.  Ahhh, Stella Blue.  Barry and Pete then end up going low and fast, grooving together, my feet were bouncing, my eyes were closed, I couldn’t stop smiling.  Thank you Moonalice.

Setlist (thanks Roger!): Down the Road A Piece, Love to Remake, Foxtrot Uniform, Who Can Say? > Daylight,  Fair to Even Odds, Break Out in Handcuffs, Wish We Had, It’s 4:20 Somewhere, Man in Me, I’m Glad You Think So, Stella Blue, Whiter Shade of Pale, Tell Me It’s Okay, Kick It Open, On the Road Again