On October 22nd, the musical celebration that is Brooklyn Comes Alive returned to Williamsburg. The one-day festival, which took place at Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and The Hall at MP, brought over fifty musicians together to in unique super groups, all connected by the driving force of spontaneity. Whether you like funk, soul, dance music, hip hop, or classical music, there was something for everything at Brooklyn Comes Alive, and fans packed each venue for hours on end to catch their favorite artists letting loose.
The day began with a brunch at MP Taverna (the restaurant attached to The Hall) that featured a themed menu with themed food items named after musicians on the lineup. You could choose between the “Holly Hummus” (named after Holly Bowling, the “Hannburger” (named after Jason Hann), the “All Bro Salad” (named after the All Brothers Band), the “Coomes Shroom Fritatta” (named after Jesus and Tyler Coomes), “Eggs Benny Bloom” (named after Eric “Benny” Bloom), and you could even order a side of “Hash Brownsteins” (named after Marc Brownstein). Event sponsor Rakka Chocolates also paired with MP Taverna to create a signature brunch item, “Nth Power Pancakes”, which featured pieces of their apple pie chocolate bar. Yum!
Holly Bowling – 12:30 PM @ The Hall at MP
As fans were waiting for their food to come out, Holly Bowling took the stage for the first set of the day. The Hall opened a few hours before Music Hall and Brooklyn Bowl, so the crowd was pretty packed in for Bowling’s beautiful set. For anyone who hasn’t seen Bowling before, she takes songs from Phish and the Grateful Dead and transforms them into classical piano masterpieces. Opening with standalone versions of Phish’s “The Curtain With” and the Dead’s “Row Jimmy”, the real fireworks began with “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing”. This kicked off a huge segment that ran from “ASIHTOS” into “Bid Song”, before Bowling dropped into “Piper”. “Piper” flowed into a gorgeous take on the famous “Terrapin Station Suite”, which eventually transformed into “The Other One”, with Bowling combining elements of both “Terrapin” and “The Other One” to create a one-of-a-kind interpretation of the material. “Cryptical Envelopment” continued the non-stop musical attack, and a standout version of “The Squirming Coil” followed. Finally, Bowling took a short breather, giving time for Elise Testone to take the stage to provide vocals on Bowling’s first ever take on “Sugaree”, putting an excellent cap on her set.
Setlist: The Curtain With, Row Jimmy, A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing > Bird Song > Piper* > Terrapin Station Suite** > The Other One *** > Cryptical Envelopment > Squirming Coil, Sugaree #$
# first time performed by Holly
* w/ ASIHTOS Mashup
** w/ Bird Song tease
*** w/ Terrapin Mashup
$ w/ Elise Testone
Organ Freeman – 2:00 PM @ The Hall at MP
Next up, L.A.-based jazz-upstarts Organ Freeman performed one of their first ever sets on the East Coast. The band gave a master class in improv, with all three members locked in for a full set of funky jazz fusion. The band gave off a Soulive-meets-Vulfpeck-meets-Snarky-Puppy kind of vibe. After seeing them perform at BCA, fans new and old should be excited to see them busting out of their shell in the coming months.
Setlist: Untitled #1, Verve, We’re On Our Way, You Said You Quit Drinkin’, Only If You Mean It, Untitled #2, Change For A Nickel, Putin And I Get Along Fantastic, Untitled #3, Go By Richard, Not By Dick
Tim Palmieri & Friends – 3:45 PM @ The Hall at MP
Tim Palmieri & Friends were the final “brunch” act, and they delivered a set filled with covers and excellent vibes. His “friends” were comprised of Alan Evans of Soulive on drums, Dan Edinberg of The Stepkids on bass, Jen Durkin on vocals, and Rob Somerville of Kung Fu and Deep Banana Blackout on keys. The set was jam-packed with deep-cut funk covers, providing a high-energy vibe that served as the perfect appetizer for the meat of the festival that was still to come. Highlights of the set include the opening trio of Funkadelic‘s “Can You Get To That” into Jeff Beck‘s “Constipated Duck” into Cheech & Chong‘s “Earache My Eye”, a performance of “Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)” by Steely Dan, and a raging one-two punch of “If You Got Funk, You Got Style” by Funkadelic that transformed into “Get the Funk Out Ma Face” by The Brothers Johnson.
Setlist: Can You Get To That (Funkadelic Cover) > Constipated Duck (Jeff Beck Cover) > Earache My Eye (Cheech & Chong Cover), What So Never the Dance (Bootsy Collins cover), Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me) (Steely Dan Cover), Earth > Eternity’s Breath Part 1 (Mahavishnu Orchestra)> A Friend Forever, Fifty-Fifty (Frank Zappa Cover), If You Got Funk, You Got Style (Funkadelic) >, Get the Funk Out Ma Face (The Brothers Johnson Cover)> Upside Down > Everybody’s Everything (Sanatana Cover), The Price is Right
DJ Logic, Scotty Zwang, Steve Molitz & Luke Bemand – 4:00 PM @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
At 4:00pm, The Music Hall of Williamsburg finally opened up, giving The Hall at MP’s packed crowd some breathing room. DJ Logic started things off with an interesting set with Scotty Zwang, Steve Molitz, and Luke Bemand. With the exception of Daft Punk‘s “Da Funk” mid set, the entire show was improvised. This was the first super group of the day, and the almost-fully-improvised nature of the show was a great way to kick off the day at Music Hall.
Setlist: All improv jamming, with the exception of Daft Punk’s “Da Funk” jam in the middle of the set.
Reed Mathis & Electric Beethoven (Reed Mathis, Todd Stoops, Jay Lane, Clay Welch) – 5:15 PM @ The Hall at MP
Reed Mathis & Electric Beethoven brought their highly-anticipated Electronic Classical Music to The Hall at MP. The band, which is rounded out by Todd Stoops, Jay Lane, and Clay Welch, were joined by Jason Hann on percussion for the entire two-hour performance. They performed selections from Beethoven‘s 3rd and 6th Symphonies, heavily improvising along the way. The line for this show stretched around the block as it seemed everyone wanted to experience the first Electric Beethoven show in New York. The Disco Biscuits‘ Aron Magner joined in on “Shepherds’ Song”, and Skerik added saxophone to “Thunderstorm”, rounding out an impressive performance that left an excellent first impression on the Brooklyn Comes Alive crowd.
Listen to the soundboard recording of “Finale” below.
Setlist: Finale, Shepherds’ Song feat. Aron Magner, Thunderstorm feat. Skerik
Notes: Selections from Beethoven’s 3rd and 6th Symphonies. 3 songs in 2 hours. Jason Hann played on entire set.
Ripe – 6:00 PM @ Brooklyn Bowl
While Marc Brownstein of the Disco Biscuits performed a DJ set at Music Hall, Boston power-funk band Ripe turned in a strong performance as the opening act at Brooklyn Bowl. Ripe are an energetic young band, and its seven members lock in to create a huge sound. Besides originals like “Talk to the Moon”, “Rumpus”, and “Border Patrol”, the band turned in a few awesome covers, including “Just Can’t Wait to be King” from the Lion King, and “On My Mind” by Ellie Goulding. They closed their set by inviting Courtney J Mell Smith of The Nth Power to the stage for a stirring rendition of their song, “Caralee”.
Setlist: Brother Sky, Flipside, Talk to the Moon, Rumpus, Little Lighter, Young Tom Rose, Border Patrol, I Just Can’t Wait to be King (Lion King Cover), Goon Squad, On My Mind** (Ellie Goulding cover), Caralee**
** w/ Courtney from Nth Power
Tribute to J Dilla (Borahm Lee, Adam Deitch, Adam Smirnoff, Nate Edgar, Stu Brooks, Maurice Brown, Chauncey Yearwood) – 6:15 PM @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
The super-group fun started at 6:15pm at Music Hall of Williamsburg with the Tribute To J Dilla. The band was led by Borahm Lee on keys and production, with Adam Deitch, Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, Nate Edgar, Stu Brooks, Maurice Brown, and Chauncey Yearwood all in the mix for this unique tribute set. J Dilla is responsible for many incredible 90s hip-hop beats, and this was an opportunity to trot the best of them out in honor of the late beat master. The set was a tremendous success, with tons of nostalgia thrown in the mix as the band re-created many of Dilla’s most masterful beats.
The All Brothers Band (Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge, Neal Evans & Alan Evans) – 7:45 @ The Hall at MP
Meanwhile, at The Hall at MP, a first-time-ever performance of the All Brothers Band was going down. This band brought two pairs of musical brothers–Oteil and Kofi Burbridge and Neal and Alan Evans–together for a debut performance of their funky new project. The show drew from material from their yet-to-be-released album, and if this set was any indication, this forthcoming record will be a masterpiece in jazz and funk music. With Kofi and Neal holding delivering a dual keyboard attack, Oteil was free to basically run the melody on the bass, performing with a wicked smile on his face as he connected with Alan for some syncopated rhythmic jamming. The All Brothers Band showcased jamming at its purest, and as it was meant to be: adventurous and fun.
Setlist: Rampage, Untitled 1, Untitled 2, Big Brother, Untitled 3, Pungee
Scott Metzger, Joe Russo, Robert Walter & Andy Hess – 7:45 @ Brooklyn Bowl
While the All Brothers Band were crushing it at The Hall, a venerable quartet of rock ‘n’ roll masters took the stage at Brooklyn Bowl. Familiar NYC musicians Joe Russo, Scott Metzger, and Andy Hess joined forces with keyboard/organ master Robert Walter for a fantastic set of originals and covers. The band performed some awesome covers–“Yeah, You’re Right” by The Meters, “The Ironic Twist” by Jimmie Vaughn, and “Funky Mule” by Ike Turner–while also including a few Metzger-led WOLF! songs and some Robert Walter original compositions. The two biggest highlights, however, came in the form of The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper” and The Band‘s “Ophelia”, which both drew huge reactions from the excited audience. Russo and Metzger are no strangers to the Bowl, and they know just how to harness the energy in that room, putting on an energetic performance that delivered the goods.
Setlist: Yeah, You’re Right (The Meters), Aquafresh (Robert Walter), Pork n Slaw (WOLF!), Day Tripper (The Beatles), Don’t Chin The Dog (Robert Walter), The Ironic Twist (Jimmie Vaughn), Funky Mule (Ike Turner), Sock Full of Quarters (WOLF!), Corey’s Snail and Slug Death (Robert Walter), Ophelia (The Band)
Brasstracks – 8:00 PM @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Back at Music Hall, Electronic duo Brasstracks brought their unique blend of electronic music, hip-hop, and horns to Brooklyn Comes Alive. Their set was filled with favorites like “Good Life” by Kanye West, “Work” by Rihanna, “Sleepy Head” by Passion Pit, “Encore” by Jay-Z, “Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly, and “No Problem” by Chance The Rapper, a song that the duo actually produced. Brasstracks kept things uptempo for their whole set, giving all the electronic music fans that called Music Hall home for the evening a set to remember.
Setlist: Good Life (Kanye West), Corduroy, Work (Jarreau vandal remix) (Rihanna), RIP (Kill The Club) (Young Jeezy, Kendrick Lamar), Good Love, Sleepy Head (Octbr remix) (Passion Pit), True (Jnthn Stein), Encore (Jay Z), Dreaming at the Function,, Get your way, Telling the Truth, Panorama, Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1 (Brasstracks remix) (Kanye West), Let Me Put This Cup Down. Feelin Good (S’natra), Say U Will, Ignition (remix) (R. Kelly), No Problem (Chance The Rapper), My Boo (Ghost Down DJs), Say U Won’t, Dance On Me (Brasstracks remix) (GoldLink), Lotus Eater (Mura Masa), Movin (krne), Pay for what (Alexander Lewis remix) (Mr. Carmack), Higher Ground (Brasstracks remix) (TNGHT)
The Coomes Brothers Ft. The Shady Horns (Jesus Coomes, Ty Coomes, Adam Smirnoff, Eric “Benny” Bloom & Ryan Zoidis) – 9:45 PM @ The Hall at MP
Team Lettuce came together at The Hall for a special set with Jesus and Tyler Coomes. The set featured the brothers performing some downtempo electronic beats while the band flanked them on either side. This set was kind of under the radar, which allowed for the added bonus of fans finally feeling comfortable at the Hall at MP. Everyone spread out and got down with Jesus, Tyler and co., locking into their hip hop beats with ease. Both of the Coomes brothers are talented studio musicians, helping with some of the best and most bangin’ beats in hip-hop, and their skills shined brightly during this set. Zoidis and Bloom added to the mix by adding tons of affects to their instruments, and Shmeeans was the set’s secret weapon, playing a seemingly endless barrage of psychedelic licks. What fun!
Setlist: Mind Yo Manners, Cray Cray Train, Blowchella, Flakey Friends, Bad Dreams, Mindset, Sailing at Sunset, Trip & Fall, Imagina, Lowlife, 420, 421, Gimme A Break, Mindfull, Bet, Hornytoads, Stankbounce, Runaway, Church, How High
Natalie Cressman Presents (Natalie Cressman, Nikki Glaspie, Will Bernard, Chris Bullock, Benny Rietveld, Samora Pinderhughes) – 9:45 PM @ Brooklyn Bowl
Perhaps best known for her role in Trey Anastasio’s band, trombonist Natalie Cressman not only comes from a family of world-class musicians, but she is one herself. Cressman’s combined abilities as a vocalist and horn player set her apart as a musician, and those skills were on full display during her super group performance at the Brooklyn Bowl. Cressman commanded the room with an all-star cast that included drummer Nikki Glaspie, guitarist Will Bernard, bassist Benny Reitveld, saxophonist Chris Bullock and pianist Samora Pinderhughes. The show marked Cressman’s second year performing at the festival, and, as a Brooklyn native, we can be sure this won’t be the last! With special guest spots from Louis Cato and Elise Testone, Cressman’s jazz-soaked set was a highlight of the night.
Setlist: Tu Eres Tu, Soy Yo (Henry Cole), Dark Red (Peter Apfelbaum), Que Beleza (Tim Maia), Actual Proof (Herbie Hancock) *w/ Louis Cato, You Need Love Like I Do (Gladys Knight & The Pips) *w/ Elise Testone, Everybody Loves The Sunshine (Roy Ayers), Blister (Will Bernard), He Loves You (Seawind), Baião (Banda Black Rio)
[Br]eaking [Bi]scuits (Adam Deitch, Borahm Lee, Aron Magner, Marc Brownstein) – 10:00 PM @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
One of the more highly-anticipated sets from Brooklyn Comes Alive was that of [Br]eaking [Bi]scuits, the new collaborative projects featuring Break Science’s Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee alongside The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner. The ferocious foursome dug into the jamtronica catalog and pulled out a number of winners, opening up with Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock” before grooving on covers of Air, DJ Shadow, The Orb and more. The free-for-all performance saw the band play just six songs in their two hour set, teeing up great music for a total dance party.
Setlist: Robot Rock, La Femme D’argent, Building Steam with a Grain of Salt, Little Fluffy Clouds, Rolf Royce, Horror
The Nth Power Presents Earth Wind & Power (The Nth Power, Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge, Skerik, Natalie Cressman, Eric “Benny” Bloom, Ryan Zoidis, Farnell Newton) – 11:30 PM @ Brooklyn Bowl
During Jazz Fest earlier this year, the one late-night party that everyone was talking about was The Nth Power’s tribute to Earth Wind & Fire. Dubbed “Earth Wind & Power,” the show saw The Nth Power welcome an insane lineup of musical guests to help pay tribute to the iconic soul catalog of EWF. In honor of the late Maurice White, his music was on full display with an energetic showing start-to-finish, opening up with favorites like “In The Stone” and “September.” The band was accompanied by Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge and a killer horn section that included Eric “Benny” Bloom”, Ryan Zoidis, Skerik, Natalie Cressman, and Farnell Newton. The group even welcomed child prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer to the stage, as the young guitarist shredded his way through “Serpentine Fire.”
Setlist: In the Stone, September, Fantasy, Sun Goddess, Open Our Eyes, Jupiter, Getaway, Got to Get You Into My Life, Love’s Holiday, Runnin, Devotion, Shining Star, Serpentine Fire, That’s the Way of the World
Roosevelt Collier’s NY Get Down (Roosevelt Collier, Michael League, Rob Compa, Eli Winderman & Adrian Tramontano) – 11:45 PM @ The Hall at MP
While many festivals will put together unique bands for late night super group jams, Brooklyn Comes Alive had these types of sets running from morning until night. Still, that didn’t stop fans from getting down to the super grooves, and Roosevelt Collier led an all-star cast of his own. The pedal steel guitarist packed The Hall at MP with a group that included Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, Kung Fu’s Adrian Tramontano, Dopapod’s Rob Compa and Eli Winderman. The band kept the setlist interesting and diverse, covering everything from the blues classic “Don’t Keep Me Wondering” to Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” to John Scofield’s “Hottentot” to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.” The band brought an excited pace, keeping the energy up for the second-to-last show at that venue.
Setlist: Churchin, Spankalee, Don’t Keep Me Wondering /feat Jackson Kincheloe of Sister Sparrow, Hottentot, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Rampage, Foxy Lady
Manic Focus & Friends – 11:45 PM @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Acclaimed producer Manic Focus kept things fresh at the Music Hall, bringing a varied cast of musical friends to accompany him during his performance. The show started with Todd Stoops and Jake Barinholtz on the first few songs, before Brasstracks stepped in some wild ride funky tunes. Later on in the set, Aron Magner, Adam Deitch, Borahm Lee would all join in, and Jesus Coomes and his brother Tyler Coomes would also make appearances. The show ended with some unreleased Manic material as well, with Brasstracks accompanying for a perfect end to a great set of music.
Horizon Wireless Live (Horizon Wireless, Wiley Griffin, Dan Lyons, Luke Bemand) – 1:30 AM @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
The jams were in full force when Horizon Wireless called upon some jam scene talents for his live set at the Music Hall. Teddy Midnight guitarist Wiley Griffin, Lespecial bassist Luke Bemand and drummer extraordinaire Dan Lyons were all staples of this set, accompanying Horizon on a musical journey through the highs and lows. The band kept things tight for a great performance.
Jason Hann’s Rhythmatronix (Jason Hann, Oteil Burbridge, Todd Stoops, Fareed Haque, Raul Pineda) – 1:45 AM @ The Hall at MP
World music was at the forefront of The Hall At MP’s final hours, as String Cheese’s own Jason Hann led his acclaimed Rhythmatronix ensemble for a very-late night performance. The drum heavy celebration was led by Hann, with Raul Pineda accompanying on the drums. With Oteil Burbridge, Fareed Haque and Todd Stoops rounding out the lineup, the group moved through various compositions with a light touch, focusing heavily on exploration. Oteil’s brother Kofi Burbridge sat in throughout the set, as did vocalist Elise Testone, only adding to the magic of this late night jam. The rhythm-heavy beats were a perfect way to put that second wind to good use!
Setlist: Gibraltar, Manga, Opus Pocus, Havona (w/ Kofi Burbridge), Barefoot beauty, Palladium (w/Kofi Burbridge), Seven Days (w/Elise Testone), Rooftops of Vienna
DRKWAV (Adam Deitch, John Medeski, Skerik) – 1:45 AM @ Brooklyn Bowl
While Hann was holding it down at the Hall, renowned musicians Adam Deitch, John Medeski and Skerik were on hand at the Brooklyn Bowl for the return of their jazz project, DRKWAV. The recurring side project for all three players focuses on the darker side of jazz composition, bringing a cerebral jam for the late night music seekers. Their 2015 album The Purge really highlights the essence of the band, capturing their ability to interlock in the unknown. The three talents are on another level, and it showed when they closed out Brooklyn Comes Alive just last weekend.
Setlist: Drkness Awaits, Drkness Lurks, Evil Andromeda, You Want It Darker, Broken Sax, No Cymbals, The Devourer of Light
So there you have it, 19 full sets of unique collaboration across three venues on one glorious day. That’s the Brooklyn Comes Alive way! What were your favorites?! We’ll see you there next year.
Check out this awesome recap video of Brooklyn Comes Alive from our good friends at Human Being.
-Written by Gideon Plotnicki and Dave Melamed
-Photos by Andrew Scott Blackstein Photography, Faces of Festivals, Phierce Photography, and Jeremy Gordon