By Arya Jha
The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, Dopapod and Brothers Past clashed together on an anything-but-ordinary Monday night at the Brooklyn Bowl. September 10, 2012 marked the third live performance by Kick Rocks, and first live performance within a venue. The jam super group had an initial performance at Camp Bisco XI’s VIP late-night tent and made a comeback the night before this Brooklyn Bowl show as the closing artist of the Catskill Chill.
Led by Disco Biscuits guitarist Jon Gutwillig, the combination of Lotus drummer Mike Greenfield, Brothers Past bassist Clay Parnell and Dopapod keyboardist Eli Winderman created an overly creative, incredibly fun live energy best known as “Kick Rocks”. The band’s sound is truly not classifiable; however, it can be best described as a psychedelic electro jam band with funk roots.
Kick Rocks opened their set at 9:45 with a body vibrating, funk-inspired baseline. With the combination of the synth and keys, as well as Brooklyn Bowl’s giant disco ball, the sound had a disco-esque feeling. A few minutes into the first jam, each instrument became progressively in tune with the other; eliminating the elements of disco and funk and, in turn, creating a loud, rock inspired jam. As Jon Gutwillig started to play his high octave twelfth fret guitar solo, the elements of psychedelic rock emerged, and I couldn’t help but relive past moments of raging to the Disco Biscuits.
As this initial jam progressed, Winderman began to stand out as a diverse musician within the group. Playing on an acoustic piano and two keyboard synthesizers, Eli made sure it seemed like the music never stopped. The electronic synth matched the funk rock genre Eli creates in Dopapod, yet sounded completely different – and more electronic – against the psychedelic sounds of Kick Rock. The band continued on to bring the octaves and decibels up and down and all around, jam loudly and softly with each instrument playing equal amounts of solos and equal amounts playing together. Jon Gutwillig tied everything together by using his screeching disco-biscuit-reminiscent guitar solos as a transition in between jams.
Their jam went on until 10:11, and the members of Kick Rocks finally put their instruments down in order to ramble to the audience as Jon and Clay took a shot of whiskey. Due to the youth, style and sole nature of Kick Rocks, no set list is created for their shows. Actually, the band so purely demonstrates jam based music, that they didn’t even take a set break. The musicians solely communicated through the music, eye-contact and body language in order to create their sounds in unison, so it was no surprise when Jon started their next jam stating, “This next song we will title when were done playing it….”
The next jam began on a smoother level starting off with a strong bass line played by both Eli and Clay and a light and steady drumming reminiscent of Lotus’s melodic and slow tempos. About 7 minutes into the jam, the band built up the song with musical scales, broke it down with bass and drum solos, and built it back up with electro-jam influences from both Eli and Jon. Their second jam had major musical range. With this show, Kick Rocks proved they can create music that is more then just electronic and more than just ongoing jams.
The crowd’s energy was clear within 30 minutes of Kick Rocks playing. Full of fans from each member of Kick Rock’s originating bands; the unique conglomerate of musicians brought out a unique conglomerate of both sounds and people. The fans went wild as the boys played around on stage, told stories of their travels, danced together and constantly impressed each other. When a fan showed a barefoot Jon her Disco Biscuits and Lotus tattoo, Eli yelled, “What about Dopapod?!” The playful energy on stage led to a playful energy on the dance floor.
Kick Rocks’ third and fourth jams concluded the show, similar to the first half of the show’s never-ending tunes. Those last two jams especially created a rockin’ dance party at the Brooklyn Bowl. Upon speaking to a Kick Rocks fan after the show, I was told that the set at Catskill Chill was slower, chiller, and calmer. He told me that this Kick Rocks show was by far the most electronic, fast, and danceable set they have played. Kick Rocks has no more shows scheduled; however, after seeing how much fun the musicians were having with each other, I would not be surprised if they pop up at a festival or venue very soon.
In the meantime, you can catch Lotus at FDR Park (PA) on September 15th, Dopapod at the Highline Ballroom (NY) September 27th and The Disco Biscuits and Brothers Past at City Bisco (PA) October 5th and 6th.
Listen to the Camp Bisco Kick Rocks Set:
Photos By: Jaclyn Fidler