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November 16, 2017

Mike Gordon to play at Calvin Theatre


Mike Gordon returns to the Pioneer Valley for the first time since the Phish bassist rocked the Mullins Center with his band for two nights last October.

Though in less prolific company, the stage Saturday will suffer no shortage of experience.

Guitarist and Agawam native Scott Murawski splits time between Gordon’s band, his own original band Max Creek, and Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s BK3, a trio where Murawski shares the stage with recent Allman Brothers’ bassist Oteill Burbridge.

The five-piece further boasts Brooklyn drummer and world music author Todd Isler, who has toured the world studying jazz percussion in India, Africa and Brazil. West African-trained Rubblebucket percussionist Craig Myers specializes in the Malian “N’goni,” a goatskin-covered harp-like gourd. Keyboardist Tom Cleary, a Vermonter, studied jazz improvisation at both the University of Massachusetts and Hampshire.

It’s the same five-piece side project Gordon toured with to rave reviews in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Gordon’s band released the groove-oriented album “Moss,” which is described by the band as “introspective,” in 2010 following 2008’s eclectic 10-track jam-based distillation “The Green Sparrow.”

The show is the fourth of a five-show fall tour that began in Portsmouth, N.H. on Nov. 12 and ends on Sunday in Albany, N.Y. According to online reviews and set lists from Gordon’s earlier shows this November, the five-piece continues to debut new material and test new boundaries.

Gordon treated the Nov. 12 Portsmouth audience to covers of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” a choice that may evoke warm remembrance of Phish’s 1994 “Quadrophenia” rendition. He also performed Little Feat’s “Skin It Back,” Max Creek’s “Willow Tree,” Gillian Welch’s “Time (the Revelator)” and Tower of Power’s “Down to the Night Club.”

In a recent interview with, the 46-year-old Gordon said he’s working on a new carefree approach to living, and it’s having an effect on his music.

“I’ve got all the first born attributes of being a list maker and a goal setter and a perfectionist. I’m trying to get rid of all that – change my personality so that if I’m working on something musical, maybe it does creep right in,” Gordon told the website.

In the same interview, Gordon shared the results of a summer-long soul-searching foray into goals, aspirations and their effect on his creativity.

“Part of my ebbing and flowing with my creative work and my existence, I think, is… just to be able to follow my views and inspiration as it comes,” said Gordon. “And if that’s to make a funky song, then I’ll just see that through and not know what it’s going to be for. Sometimes a funky song can become intricate enough that people aren’t really going to want to dance to it, but it will sound interesting. Other times, it will be pared down to such a raw essence that dancing to it is all you would really want to do with it. I don’t know and that’s what I’m trying to do – I’m trying to know less more often.”

Tickets to Gordon and company at the Calvin Theatre this Saturday are $25. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Brian Canova can be reached at


2 Responses to “Mike Gordon to play at Calvin Theatre”
  1. Frank says:

    Won’t Get Fooled Again isn’t on Quadrophenia

  2. Brian says:

    It doesn’t say it is. The Who cover evokes the memory of one of Phish’s traditional Halloween album-cover concerts

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