I was alone in the world till you came
It’s a real feeling to be alone. It creeps in and stirs you around and can leave you feeling strange. It’s a thing that we have all had at some point or another, until something or someone changes it. And until that happens, there’s music.
Ellis Ashbrook has experienced a lot of loneliness at the Triumph Brewing Company. The series of two set shows the band has performed at New Hope, PA’s bourgeois brew pub have been poorly attended and rife with indifference from patrons more interested in talking about miscellaneous happenstance than appreciating live music. Such apathy can take its toll on performers, as the feedback, the synergy; the mutual exchange is what makes it all work. It is what makes performance a social interation, a dialog, a passing of energy from one entity to another. And at this venue that essential part of the equation had been sorely missed… until last night.
I’m not going to venture too far out on a limb and say there was a bumping crowd ready to rock out cocks out, but there were a few people shaking it. There was also some merch sold, and at least one new fan who was transfixed by the music; not averting her gaze once the whole night. That kind of connection is special, and good to see, and perhaps should be a reminder that playing shows to empty rooms can be a good thing. Even if just for one convert, one new face in the crowd, one new friend filling the gaps of her life with the beautiful music that has become the cornerstone of a scene. In a patently idealistic way, it makes it all worth it.
Aside from all that, last night’s show was special – extra special. It brings me back to the notion that there is really nothing quite like a full show, and a full show this was: Two sets, no encore. Set one was exactly one hour; set two was exactly 90 minutes. With all that time, the band really had the space to stretch out and get deep into their catalog; pulling out some rarities like Cat Song, Bottomfeeder, That’s Where You Come In, The Undeveloped Brain, but also making way for an absolute bust-out in Hard 2B EZ, which had been absent for over a year. Despite being totally unrehearsed, the band pulled off a near flawless version of the Assemblage classic. There were also covers; including extra rare, Ramble On, last heard at the 2/22/14 “final” Space Palace Party, and 1999, which is actually a cover of a live version of Prince’s seminal pre-millennium celebration. Noteworthy jams included Barracuda, So Simple, Way, Frankenstein, and Burning Down The House.
Enticed? Curious? Bewildered? Ready to get some, get some of your very own? Well you, my friend, are in luck as there is another Ellis Ashbrook show tonight! The Rock Shop, in the Park Slope is where you’ll find them headlining a spot that has become special the past year and has hosted a handful of hard rocking blister-fests of the EA variety. The machine is well oiled and rearing to play set three of this one, two KO tonight. You should really be there, I mean really… what are you doing thinking about not coming. We’re championship level now… come out and play.
Friday, March 27, 2015: TRIUMPH BREWING COMPANY, New Hope, PA
Soundcheck: Why High I, Baby Bitch
Set 1: Ethiopia > Skunk!, Ramble On, Don’t Give Up (I’ll Be Around) > Barracuda, They Say, Hard 2B EZ, The Undeveloped Brain, Kan Eye Tuch U?, The Streets of New York City
Set 2: Polaris, Cat Song, Frankenstein, Decelerator, So Simple, Burning Down The House, That’s Where You Come In, 22, Bottomfeeder, Way, Good Time Blues -> 1999, Tom Sawyer
Shave and a Haircut quote from Jonathan at the end
After Barracuda Natalie quipped, “That was extremely epic (!)… don’t you think?” John responded, “I was naked on top of the mountain in my dream.”
After H2BEZ, Natalie bantered, “Let’s eat, grandma… Let’s eat grandma”
With intro jam
After KETU Natalie introduced the band as Ellis Ashbrook and did some extended “you had to be there” banter that was confusingly humorous; then ended by saying, “we have one more for you, then we’re going to take a break, to break the law.” John followed by imploring everyone to drink beer and try the tollhouse cookie pie, “[my] compliments to the chef.”
With Shine On You Crazy Diamond tease from John
After Decelerator Natalie quipped, “If you don’t know what’s going on you’re not alone, because I’m not sure I know what’s going on….”
Prior to TWYCI, Natalie remarked, “This is for all of you people in love, even if you’re in love with yourself.”
With 6 over 4 “shuffle” jam
With Close to the Edge Quote, from John
Unfinished, GTB jam segued (->) into 1999