Alex Bleeker and The Freaks: November 12, 2015 Brooklyn Bowl (2 Sources)

November 17, 2015
By

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[photo courtesy of Jackson Richards]

Alex Bleeker and The Freaks treated us to two concerts on Thursday night at Brooklyn Bowl. As the release party for the new album Country Agenda, the first set was an extremely well-played run through much of the record with some older Freaks tunes, and one outstanding cover. The second set was the Freaks “Play Dead” — a guest-filled performance of Grateful Dead tunes, similar to what the band did in Chicago in July.

Country Agenda struck me most upon first listen as an album with superb production values. The sound quality is absurdly good, but what’s more compelling is that the songs have a feel that is consistent with the music. While others have pointed to the American Beauty / Workingman’s Dead qualities of the songs, this album very much more resembles a Laurel Canyon record and the offshoots of that movement. For the live performance, what substituted for the production values of the record was the tightness of the band. The Freaks were extremely well rehearsed and wired into each other — this is a band of both talent and commitment and the performance proved that. But this was also a night when the Freaks had some fun and let loose. The jamming aspect of this show began with the final number of the first set, an extended cover of Ricky Skaggs’ “Gone Home,” and continued throughout the second set of Grateful Dead music. Among the Dead songs, the one that jumped out most was the Martin Courtney (Bleeker’s bandmate in his other project, Real Estate) appearance for “Here Comes Sunshine”, which featured Courtney’s unique vocals and a tight three-guitar attack (thanks to the addition of Courtney) that nailed what is otherwise a difficult song to pull off. By “difficult,” I mean that the Grateful Dead themselves stopped playing it for a couple of decades because of timing difficulties. The night ended in very sweet fashion, as the uber-talent Steve Gunn led the band through a profound version of “Wharf Rat.” In total, Alex Bleeker and The Freaks provided us with two sets and well over two hours of music featuring both the band’s superb new album and a fun set of Dead covers. It was a tremendous night and fortunately it will be repeated soon. The band will once again “Play Dead” on December 30 at Rough Trade.

Acidjack and I both recorded this set with separate rigs. We shared a superb board feed provided by Brooklyn Bowl’s FOH (we need help with his name to give full credit) and we both ran Schoeps from the middle of the room. I used the Schoeps CCM4 cardioids and acidjack ran his MK41V supercardiods. The sound in the room was also quite excellent (including very little crowd chatter). The nyctaper mix favors the audience feed (about 65/35 in favor of the room), while the acidjack mix accentuates the well-mixed board feed. The sound quality of both mixes is superb but offer different approaches to this show. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show:
nyctaper source [MP3] / [FLAC]
acidjack source [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream the Complete Show (nyctaper source):

Stream the Complete Show (acidjack source):

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Alex Bleeker and The Freaks
2015-11-12
Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn, NY USA

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard + Schoeps CCM4u Cardioids > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wavs > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Setlist:
Set 1
[Total Time 1:03:37]
01 Little Dream I Had
02 California
03 See You On Sunday
04 [false start]
05 Country Agenda
06 Portrait
07 The Rest
08 Sealong Hair
09 Honey I Don’t Know
10 Downright Stinson
11 Leave On the Light
12 U.H.M.
13 [banter – new record]
14 Gone Home [Ricky Skaggs]

Set 2
[Total Time 1:14:41]
15 Viola Lee Blues
16 Tennessee Jed
17 Jack Straw
18 [Martin Courtney intro]
19 Here Comes Sunshine
20 He’s Gone
21 The Other One
22 He’s Gone Reprise
23 [Steve Gunn intro]
24 Wharf Rat

*******************************************************

Alex Bleeker & The Freaks
2015-11-12
Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK41V (A-B)>KCY>Z-PFA>>Edirol R-44>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Set 1 [Total Time: 1:03:42]
01 Little Dream I Had
02 California
03 See You On Sunday
04 [banter1]
05 Country Agenda
06 Portrait
07 The Rest
08 Sealong Hair
09 Honey, I Don’t Know
10 Downright Stinson
11 Leave On the Light
12 U.H.M.
13 [banter2]
14 Gone Home [Ricky Skaggs]

Set 2 – Grateful Dead cover set [Total Time: 1:14:44]
01 Viola Lee Blues
02 Tennessee Jed
03 Jack Straw
04 [banter3]
05 Here Comes Sunshine %
06 He’s Gone> %
07 The Other One>He’s Gone %
08 [banter4]
09 Wharf Rat $
% w/ Martin Courtney
$ w/ Steve Gunn

If you Download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, visit their Facebook page, and purchase their new album Country Agenda from Sinderlyn Records [HERE].

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