Mike Gordon, the enigmatic musician and founding member of Phish is at again with his own band and brand new album entitle OGOGO. Gordon first assembled the current lineup of his group in 2015 after switching out a few players. Longtime friend and collaborator Scott Murawski is still front and center lending his guitar and vocals to the mix. Changes at kit and keys came in the form of John Morgan Kimock on the sticks and Greyboy Allstar Robert Walter on the boards. Longtime percussionist Craig Meyers rounds out the quintet.
The two night run at the Boulder Theater would mark the end of their fall tour, but first a few lucky fans were treated to a rare in-store afternoon performance at Denver most iconic record store, Twist & Shout. The room was tight only allowing for about 200 souls, but we packed in tightly for a trio of songs all off the new album. Most notably Mike chatted with the audience while a few enthusiastic fans gave him suggestions on what to play next. One patron shouted, “Sexy Thing,” Mike obliged by including a tease during “Victim.” Fans stuck around to get merchandise signed while we made for the exit.
I arrived at the Boulder Theater early on Saturday evening to secure a good spot for the final show of the run. After much anticipation the band took the stage around 9 PM. They opened with the psychedelically inspired barnburner “Whirlwind.”
After a bouncy “Victim” Gordon welcomed the crowd by expressing his satisfaction for playing a “residency in one of the best towns in the whole country” and mentioned McLain Hedges. Not sure what the significance of Gordo’s relationship with Mr. Hedges, but as of press time we are still digging. Murawski took lead vocals on “Cruel World” before Walter kicked it up a notch during “Mind Mischief.” The boys continued with another new track “Steps” before pumping up the crowd with a punchy “Say Something.” They closed the first set with an appropriate “Go Away.”
The second set feature more new songs beefed up with some classic Gordo. They began with “Victim 3D” aka “Victim Reprise.” The dreamy, reggae-tinged tune “Marissa” is a great track and I’d like to see Phish work this into their rotation as soon as possible. “Peel” into “Trapezoidal Sunshine” back into “Peel” was easily the musical highlight of the show. They kept the jams going deep and dark during a rocking “Are You A Hypnotist?”. They continued with a brooding “Tiny Little World” which gave way to a rowdy version of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.” The band returned to encore with the call and repeat tune “Let’s Go.” Again another song I could see played by Phish in the next year or so.
While this show didn’t dig too deep into the solo Gordon archive, it was a perfect demonstration of what this band does on a nightly basis. They lock in and and rock out. While Gordon is an intrinsic cog in the wheel that is Phish, here he is the bandleader. He calls cues and all eyes point to him as he confidently leads the way. His bass is front and center in the mix and is the driver of all things. If you like Gordon’s eccentric and at times odd take on music, you need to go see his band live. They are a distillation of all things Gordo and the music they are creating simply incredible.