On Saturday night, Arizona’s own Spafford continued their rise through the ranks of the jam scene with a show at Brooklyn Bowl in front of a capacity crowd. The band was firing on all cylinders, delivering exciting and adventurous pieces of improvisation throughout the evening. The band was clearly excited to be performing at the East Coast musical mecca, and they certainly brought it, offering up standout versions of several classic songs, a few rarely-played tunes, and two off-the-charts covers that had the crowd going wild.
The band started with a melodic, bluesy number “Shake You Loose,” which featured some beautiful playing from guitarist Brian Moss. The energy picked up in a huge way with a raucous “Ain’t That Wrong,” which book-ended their high-octane cover of “On Fire” by JJ Grey. The band let loose with some of their trademarked, full-band improvisation, and landed some tight song transitions in the process. The untz was back in action and Cameron Laforest was firing on all cylinders. After working their way through “Slip And Squander,” Spafford turned the volume up to eleven with a monster version of “Leave The Light On.” This version featured multiple deep, exploratory sections of improvisation, a perfect way to close out an adventurous first frame.
To start off the second set, Spafford kicked things off with, “People,” which acted as the perfect way to ease the audience back into things. The band then launched into a lengthy “Electric Taco Stand,” that lasted for the majority of the set. The jam was blissful and gorgeous, and the segue into “Alternate Ending”–the 16th time it’s been included in the middle of “Electric Taco Stand”–was spot-on. The band would jam back into “Electric Taco Stand” for a triumphant conclusion. To finish up the second set, Spafford whipped out their version of “Down Under” by Men At Work for the first time with their new drummer Cameron Laforest. They played this song at a faster pace than the recording, giving it a ska-esque vibe that worked like a charm.
For the encore, keyboardist Red Johnson poured his heart and soul into an emotional version of “Beautiful Day,” and he was met by a crowd of fans singing the lyrics loudly. After the heartfelt moment, Spafford turned the energy up one more time with some old-fashioned, fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll, courtesy of “All In.”
The band’s first show in New York City was December 30th, 2016, less than twelve months ago. Now, nine months later, they returned for their third trip to the city, and found the the crowd screaming their song lyrics into the sky, going wild for their ambitious jams, and packing a beloved local venue out to capacity. It must be an amazing feeling, and the celebratory good vibes were noticeable at Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday night.
Setlist: Spafford | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY | 9/30/2017
Set One: Shake You Loose, Ain’t That Wrong > On Fire > Ain’t That Wrong, Slip And Squander, Leave The Light On
Set Two: People, Electric Taco Stand > Alternate Ending > Electric Taco Stand, Down Under
Encore: Beautiful Day, All In