Alex Bleeker and the Freaks Lead Brooklyn Is Dead Night with Special Guests

February 11, 2015

Brooklyn Bowl hosted two distinct worlds colliding last night as Brooklyn Is Dead brought together some of the most promising musicians in the indie world with the music of the Grateful Dead. Leading the proceedings was Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, who served as the backing band for three sets that included a variety of special guests.

To start, the band played a brief private 45-minute set to those who arrived early for Relix‘s 40th anniversary party which featured Eric Krasno joining in on “Brown Eyed Woman” before Cass McCombs and Joe Russo took the helm for “Jack a Roe.” The closing segment of “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain” also featured McCombs, Russo and Krasno for the most extensive improvised segment of the set.

After a brief intermission, the band returned for the first of two full sets as the group once again incorporated special guests like Marc Brownstein, who would come out for the second tune “Man Smart Woman Smarter.” Jarvis Taveniere of Woods came out for “Tennessee Jed” and “Viola Lee Blues” before Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group and Jesse Lauter teamed up on guitar for “St. Stephen.” The group then went into a trio of songs such as “Dark Hollow,” “Mississippi Half Step” and “Row Jimmy” before Krasno rejoined the fold for “Deal.” McCombs and Russo once again returned for the following “Peggy O” and stayed out along with Darkside’s Dave Harrington for the closing “Shakedown Street.”

The final set of the night featured Dave Harrington and Will Epstein of Darkside sitting in for the entire set which featured takes on “Eyes of the World,” “Bird Song,” “New Speedway Boogie” and a pairing of “Not Fade Away” and “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad,” among others. Cass McCombs and Joe Russo rejoined for the set-closing “I Know You Rider.” After a brief “Donor Rap,” the ensemble closed the show with “Second That Emotion” featuring Dave Harrington, Will Epstein and Eric Krasno.

Here’s a look at the setlist from last night:

Brooklyn Is Dead

Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY

Party Set: Let the Good Times Roll, Brown Eyed Woman*, Sad Songs, Jack A Roe**, Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain***

Set I: Bertha, Man Smart Woman Smarter^, Tennessee Jed^^, Viola Lee Blues^^, St. Stephen^^^, Dark Hollow, Mississippi Half Step > Row Jimmy, Deal*, Peggy O**, Shakedown Street+

Set II: Eyes of the World > Bird Song > New Speedway Boogie > Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad > Not Fade Away, Must Have Been the Roses, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider**

Enc: Donor Rap, Second That Emotion++

Notes: Entire set two played with Dave Harrington and Will Epstein, *w/Eric Krasno, **w/Cass McCombs and Joe Russo, ***w/Eric Krasno, Cass McCombs and Joe Russo, ^w/Marc Brownstein, ^^w/Jarvis Taveniere, ^^^w/Lenny Kaye and Jesse Lauter, +w/Cass McCombs, Joe Russo and Dave Harrington, ++w/Dave Harrington, Will Epstein and Eric Krasno