Thursday, October 25

Brad @ Highline Ballroom, NYC

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had gotten free passes to the CMJ music marathon here in NYC. The first night of the music marathon I had found out that the band Brad was playing over at the Highline Ballroom, a small little music venue located in NYC's meatpacking district.

Having first heard of Brad way back in 1993, when they released their debut album Shame, which ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year, with its soulful funk grooved rock jams. I had always thought that that was their only offering and that the band kind of just disbanded, but unbeknownst to me they have steadily been putting out albums since then. They're currently working on a fifth album due out soon. So when I saw that they were playing I was pretty excited to go check them out.

Now for those of you who don't know one of the members of Brad is Stone Gossard who some of you might realize is a guitarist for that little known band Pearl Jam. Now although that would be one reason to go check them out the real reason to listen to Brad and to see them live is for their singer Shawn Smith. I had never seen pictures of the other members of Brad so I was surprised to finally see where this extremely soulful voice come from. Shawn Smith looks like a combination of Meat loaf, Ronnie Van Zant(singer from Lynyrd Skynyrd) and one of the actors from the defunct HBO series DeadWood. Looking at this guy you would never expect a voice like that to come out of him, yet it does. Even though Stone Gossard, contributes to the signature sound of the band the real star of this band is Shawn Smith, not only can this guy sing he also has a commanding stage presence.

The one criticism about the show is that they had this special guest guitarist playing with them. This guy looked like your middle aged uncle who still thinks he's in his twenties. He had 1980's style long hair that was pulled back into a pony tail which was just barely covering the bald spot on the top of his head. He also wore sports styled sunglasses throughout the entire performance(maybe he just had a cataracts operation I don't know). I could of lived with those two strikes against him but the camel that broke the straws back would be his constant guitar solos that really just didn't fit in with the rest of the music. He would start his solo and stroll up to the front of the stage and place one foot onto a monitor and get into that cliched 80's style rockstar guitar pose that says hey look at me aren't I so cool! I just didn't get his whole schtick, maybe he was crying out for attention, or just trying to relive his former glory days. He was just so distracting from the rest of the band . What would of been an outstanding stellar show was just a pretty good show, all because of him.

So the next day I did some Googling to find out who this guy was. Well, it turns out his name was Kevin Wood. He was a member, along with his brother Andy Wood of the band Malfunkshun, who some considered the "godfathers" of grunge, along with The Melvins(my favorite) and Neil Young. So, finally the connection was made as to why he was there. You see his brother Andy after Mulfunkshun broke up, formed a band called Mother Love Bone which featured Stone Gossard. Just days before the release of their first album Andy Wood died of a drug overdose. The significance of this is that if that didn't happen Pearl Jam may have never existed since Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament would than go on to form the basis of that band.

So enough with this grunge music history lesson since this post is getting way to long. I will leave you with this, if you have a chance to see Brad live, do so and hopefully they won't a guest guitarist, who is an aging rock star trying to relive his past on stage with them.

Brad @ Myspace
Brad official website

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rule said...

Check out the Brad Vs. Satchel CD very good. Oh and by the way Matt will be very upset that you did not keep up with brad.

msquared said...

damn Rule, that was quick I just posted this.
The funny thing is that Matt and Stone Gossard look awefully alike.

Meany said...


You gotta do something about the white type on black.

msquared said...

there are you happy now Meany,
I might switch to a white background with black text when I get a chance. What do you think of that?

nursemyra said...

hmm... you just made me think about deadwood. I love that show. have they released the movie in nyc yet?

msquared said...

I loved Deadwood too. And what do you mean the movie. Are they making a deadwood movie?

Meany said...

Ahhh! Much better. "Black on white"
Why do you have to make it a black white thing?

msquared said...

because we live in a black and white world.
and plus I'm color blind.

nursemyra said...

they are supposed to be making TWO deadwood movies I believe :-)

have you watched Deadwood Pancakes on youtube?