26 SEPTEMBER NEW YORK, NY
After hearing and buying my first Freakwater album (End Time) at Other Music
just a month ago - and running right back to the store to pick up the other
four - I went to the Bowery Ballroom concert Sunday night thinking that this
was undoubtedly one of the best bands around today. I left the concert
knowing that Freakwater is undoubtedly one of the best bands - any genre - of
I'll try to scale this for you. Thirty years ago, a record called Music From
Big Pink melded profound lyrics and lonesome voices and jukebox echoes of
"old, weird American music" in a way that nobody'd ever heard
before. It was a complete context killer, but we also didn't know how they
did it or even who they were, in my case at least till I saw The Band's coming
out gig at the Fillmore East, and from the first chords of "To Kingdom
Come" right through to the last encore it was revelation piled on
revelation, watching and hearing the music from the record being fully
realized, live, unaided, unhurried, by those five guys in the daguerreotype
I've seen more than a few great concerts since then - everyone from Bill
Monroe to X to Sylvie Courvoisier - but maybe nothing that quite recaptured
the sheer delight of witnessing the live total realization of a perfectly
sprung ensemble sound, until Sunday night starting with the first mystic
chords of "Good For Nothing"...and right on through, straight and
true, to the last encore.
And I'll just tell you all right here, country cello works for me.
Janet and Catherine (and Sally Timms earlier) commented several times about
how quiet the audience was. Well, I don't know, maybe folks were savin it for
going back to work Monday morning, maybe the bartenders were too heavy with
the Tab, but me, I was just too awestruck hearing the new made old again to
be making a whole lot of noise. Saw a lot of blissful faces all around,
What more can I say? You are the Queen Bees. Thanks for the nectar.
There's nothing so pure.