After nearly 20 years, Tom Hamilton reunited with his former high school bandmates to form MORE! for his livestream on Wednesday. The virtual concert from the Joe Russo’s Almost Dead guitarist boasted a setlist of songs that hadn’t been played in decades and took place at Hamilton’s The Ballroom studio in North Philadelphia.
Among Hamilton’s former compatriots was keyboardist Tom McKee, who would go on to form Brothers Past with Hamilton in 1998. Other than McKee, the accomplished guitarist hadn’t shared the stage with these musicians in many years.
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Though the songbook is unfamiliar to most fans, the sound still rings of classic Hamilton. For those that only became familiar with Hamilton due to his work with JRAD, this stream also provided an enlightening window to his work long before the Grateful Dead cover juggernaut, and displays his articulate songwriting.
Just as well, some of the music employs the members’ burgeoning high school education such as the song “Silent Lady, Artful Dodger” which employs the name of a character from Oliver Twist. Additionally, with just six songs performed in a 66-minute stream, it further demonstrates Hamilton’s ability to turn any song into a lasting jam, bolstered by his former brothers in arms.
“When we broke up, with the exception of a few songs, we put most of this songbook away,” Hamilton said in a statement. “Fast forward 20 years and a pandemic later, and here we are. Just before quarantine I had found a bunch of cassette tapes from those days, and once the lockdown rules loosened a bit I started venturing to my studio and digitizing them, rediscovering all of those songs. I reached out to the guys and asked if they wanted to come jam at the studio and that’s all it really took. It was like slipping back on my favorite shoes that I’ve ever worn, the chemistry hadn’t changed.”
Watch Tom Hamilton form MORE! with his former high school bandmates for his livestream on Wednesday.
MORE! – The Ballroom – North Philadelphia, PA – 11/11/20
[Video: Tom Hamilton Jr]
Setlist: MORE! | The Ballroom | North Philadelphia, PA | 11/11/20
Set: Landis Fill, Utopiary Window, Ballad Of The Misguided Shadow, Corduroy Joe, Silent Lady, Artful Dodger, Astphadel