December 12, 2014 Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen deliveries at Revolution Music Hall Amityville, NY 11-28-14
Known worldwide as the guitarist for legendary rock band The Doors, Robby Krieger has kept himself busy throughout the decades, forming The Butts Band, making guest appearances with a host of other acts, and also establishing a strong solo career. In more recent times the creative axe master is on the road fronting Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen, with jam being the operative word. Featuring Arthur Barrow on bass and Tommy Mars on keys (both formerly of Frank Zappa’s band), Larry Kilmas on saxophone (formerly of War, Chicago, and Neil Diamond), and on drums one Tom Brechtlein (Chick Corea), the band continually stretched out on the stage at a packed Revolution Bar and Music Hall in Amityville, NY on Black Friday November 28th. Bringing a treasure-box mix of Jazz-Rock fusion, flamenco, Blues, free form instrumentals, atmospheric soundscapes, and, of course, straight up Rock-n-Roll, this was a night to make everyone forget about their Thanksgiving leftovers.
Three Long Island based bands opened the show, namely The Vinyl Plane, Two Cent Sam, and The Montauk Project. The Montauk Project kicked off the show with a thirty minute set of electric roots rock featuring a tinge of ’60s English blues and, in a nod to the headliner, a cover of the Doors’ “Spanish Caravan.” Two Cent Sam brought their bouncy Pop Rock sound to the stage next featuring some great harmonies and top notch guitar solos. The Vinyl Plane rounded out the openers with a heavy mix of boogie, Southern Rock, and effects laden, fuzzy guitar jamming. Frequently incorporating the harmonica, the band took the listener back to the ’70s and such acts as ZZ Top, Humble Pie, and Foghat.
Having been warmed up by some talented local acts, the audience at Revolution Bar and Music Hall were ready to see the all-star ensemble known as Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen. Opening with Zappa’s “Chunga’s Revenge”, the band set the tone for the evening with an intricate, atmospheric number featuring jazz-inflected drumming and punchy soloing from Krieger, with Kilmas’ smooth sax acting as the perfect counter to Krieger’s aggressive playing. Churning out groove after spacey groove, featuring Krieger originals “What Was That,” “The Drift,” “Coffin Dodger,” and “Screen Junkie” (an ode to modern man’s addiction to being connected at all times), they kept the room’s attention, even offering a funked up version of Zappa’s “Cosmik Debris” followed by The Doors classic “Love Me Two Times”, all just to round out the first half of the show. Having five musicians on stage with such extensive, diverse resumes made for an hour of complex music performed at an astonishingly high level. In fact, every note was played with purpose and perfection, as the spaces between left the audience begging for more.
For the second half of the set, Evan Marshall, a dead ringer for Jim Morrison, joined the band to extend the musical journey. Besides the look, he also brought the pipes. Kicking things off with an intense rendering of “Five to One,” the crowd erupted as Marshall wailed away while Krieger nailed the bouncy guitar lead. Flowing into the 1969 The Soft Parade track “Wild Child” was an interesting album cut that took the crowd by surprise, featuring Kilmas taking center stage with a strong sax lead. Classic Rock staples “Riders on the Storm” and “Roadhouse Blues” followed Krieger original “Dr. Noir,” for which Marshall took a respite. The crowd was now on another level, screaming along with Marshall, and moving furiously on the tightly packed floor. For “Roadhouse Blues” each band member took a few minutes to solo on drums, sax, bass, keys, and guitar. All five solos took the song to an entirely new place while still managing to keep the original groove in the background. Igniting a sea of cheers the band left the stage momentarily, but returned quickly for the obligatory encores.
The encores brought the house down and left the crowd screaming for more, especially after an almost thirteen minute rendition of “Touch Me” that was absolutely mind blowing. Marshall was at the top of his game, channeling the silky-smooth vocals of Morrison while Krieger cranked out solo after solo on top of a deep bass groove and snappy percussion. Kilmas also continued to dazzle during the cut, blowing an impossible amount of clean, crisp notes on his saxophone. This epic rendition was followed by a fifteen minute version of “Light My Fire” which again featured multiple solos from Krieger and an extended organ/piano solo from Mars. The last two numbers were the perfect showcase for this group of musicians to shine bright in a loose setting where song structure took a back seat to wild improvisation.
Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen brought an incredible mix of complex, intelligent jazz-laced rock along with all the bombast of upbeat Classic Rock to Revolution Bar and Music Hall. This was certainly a wonderful early Christmas present for Classic Rock lovers and one can only hope Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen will be cranking up the amps together again very soon.Photo credits: Joe Parisi