Steve Kimock and Friends wrapped up their mini-tour of the Northeast Saturday night to a sold-out Ardmore Music Hall just outside Philadelphia. The night was started by Hayley Jane (Hayley Jane and the Primates) performing a solo acoustic set as the crowd worked their way in off the streets. By the time her set was halfway through the crowd had largely filled the 600-person venue and were often delighted by Hayley Jane’s whimsical and heartfelt set where she showed her penchant for meaningful songwriting, powerful vocals, and complimentary guitar play. She blended original songs with a witty banter and audience interplay throughout the performance.
Steve Kimock and Friends next took the stage following a short break, at which time the full house was abuzz with anticipation. The current iteration of Kimock and Friends includes Jeff Chimenti (Dead and Company) on keys, bassist Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green, Billy & The Kids), and his son and regular playing partner John Kimock (KIMOCK, Mike Gordon) on drums. Kimock and Friends shows are typically known for being long on musical content and short on song count and tonight was no exception. The first set opened with a 20+ minute “Ice Cream”, a Kimock classic off of the 2005 release Eudemonic, and provided the first of many instances where Chimenti and Kimock were lockstep, trading licks like they’ve been touring together for decades. A jazzy, downtempo instrumental version of the Grateful Dead’s “Bird Song >The Other One Jam > Bird Song” featured Kimock on the lap steel for the first time of the evening. Supported throughout the night by the deep pockets Mathis and John Kimock provided, Kimock and Chimenti took turns exploring the Grateful Dead classics and thrilling the crowd all the while. The first set wrapped up with the funky Kimock original “There’s Gonna be Butter” before closing with Peter Rowan/Seatrain’s “Mississippi Moon” done with the style and pacing Jerry Garcia was known for playing, sans the vocals.
The second set kicked off with another Kimock original, the funky-boogaloo “You’re the One” before sending the Chimenti/Kimock interplay to a new level with Oscar Pederson’s jazz-gospel track “Hymn to Freedom”. Chimenti found plenty of room to explore on the jazz original, and Kimock did as he’s wont to do layering hypnotic slides over the Chimenti’s organ. The crowd was then treated to another instrumental of Grateful Dead originals “Help on the Way > Slipknot!”. Mathis and John Kimock kept the pace going throughout and the highlight was the vast exploration that occurred by each band member during Slipknot! that clocked in at almost 10 minutes on its own, before closing out the set with the Kimock original “One for Brother Mike”. After a brief break the band took the stage one last time with an instrumental take on the Dead’s “Stella Blue” for the encore, once again featuring Kimock on the lap steel as he serenaded the crowd with an emotive take on the Garcia/Hunter tune.
1: Ice Cream, Bird Song > TOO Jam > Bird Song, There’s Gonna Be Butter, Mississippi Moon
2: You’re the One, Hymn to Freedom, Help on the Way > Slipknot!, One for Brother Mike
E: Stella Blue