Kitchen Dwellers & Eggy with Sicard Hollow
Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY – April 28, 2023
Review & Photos – Rebecca Wolf
Having recently attended Brooklyn Bowl Philly for the first time, I’ve been eager to attend a concert at the original Brooklyn Bowl in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Last year experiencing and thoroughly enjoying my first live performance of Kitchen Dwellers, I’ve been looking forward to seeing, hearing and photographing them again. As luck would have it, the opportunity arose to combine these two experiences on April 28th, when Kitchen Dwellers performed at Brooklyn Bowl. While it was a chilly, damp night I ventured into Williamsburg with excitement and anticipation. Brooklyn Bowl, founded in 2009, is a 2000 square foot music venue, bowling alley and restaurant, renovated from an original 1800s ironworks factory. The towering ceiling with large pipes, scaffolding and enormous fans serve as reminders of the building’s industrial beginnings. With a capacity of 2000, Brooklyn Bowl includes a sixteen-lane bowling alley, situated alongside an expansive music hall and performance stage. Between the alleys and music floor is a raised VIP section that includes large leather sofas, coffee tables and waiter service for the bowling parties. This provides patrons the opportunity to come for the bowling, come for the music or come for both.
When I head out for a musical performance I’m rarely aware if there’s going to be an opening act. Even if I do know there’ll be an opener(s), I never investigate anything about the band beforehand. I like entering with no preconceived notions. I want to experience my own thoughts and feeling about the music right on the spot. So, on April 28th, while I’d discovered beforehand that a band named Eggy was the co-bill with Kitchen Dwellers, I had no idea what to expect. I had even less idea what to expect when I arrived and discovered there’d be an additional act named Sicard Hollow to start the evening. Knowing Kitchen Dwellers are a progressive bluegrass band I wondered if these bands would fall within the same genre. I pondered whether I was the among the few who were unaware of the existence of these bands? Did they have more widespread popularity than I was aware of? This wouldn’t be surprising as nowadays I seem to encounters “new” bands all the time.
I expected the music floor to remain sparse for the initial opener, as opening acts often don’t draw a large audience. However, from the moment Sicard Hollow energetically entered the stage there was a fully engaged, enthused crowd which continued to grow throughout the band’s set. I wondered if this four-piece progressive bluegrass band already had a solid fanbase inhabiting Brooklyn Bowl that evening or if their upbeat, uplifting, dynamic music was so appealing they quickly drew patrons to the floor. I know the energetic progressive bluegrass, paired with the spirited electricity of the band members immediately drew my attention. During the band’s 45-minute set each member showcased depth and passion in his performance, as Matt Rennick played violin at breathtaking speed, Will Herrin on mandolin and vocals, tossed his hair while swiftly moved his fingers along the strings, Alex King on guitar and vocals sang with joyful intensity and Parrish Gabriel remained laser focused on adding the band’s baseline. I found myself wondering yet again, with music this good and an audience this engaged and captivated, how is this an opening act? This band seems ready for main billing. I know I will be searching them out again!
While I thought the crowd was enthused for Sicard Hollow, I had yet to see the audience fill the floor for Eggy. But, fill the floor they did. As Eggy arrived onstage, I became aware that his time many of those filing the space did so with intention…they were fans of Eggy. What I also noticed as soon as the musicians entered was that their instruments were a clear indication that this was not going to be bluegrass music. Eggy, comprised of Jake Brownstein on guitar and vocals, Dani Battat on keyboards, Mike Goodman on bass and Alex Bailey on drums, is a jam band hailing from Connecticut. The band released its first album in Watercolor Days in 2019 and has been growing their following in the jam band scene ever since…now expanding beyond the Connecticut border. Eggy is a jam band in the true sense of the word. Their hour-long set was filled with just 5 numbers, as they skillfully and intensely jammed and improvised on City Lights, High Noon, My Oh My (Punch Brothers cover), Finding and Losing and 12 Pounds of Pain. While there was intensity in each of their playing, there was obvious joy as well, as Goodman and Brownstein met centerstage for a dual guitar jam, Bailey’s drum sticks could be seen raised high in the air and Battat swiftly moved between his multiple keyboards. The energy on stage was equally matched by the high spirts of the crowd who danced, jumped and waved their arms in the air.
The crowd now hyped with this jam band vibe were ready to continue with the evening’s final performance, the high energy, Montana-grown, progressive bluegrass band, Kitchen Dwellers. The packed floor became electrified the moment the four musicians entered the stage, including Torrin Daniels, banjo and lead vocals, Joe Funk upright bass and vocal, Max Davies, acoustic guitar and vocals and Shawn Swain, mandolin. Each of these musicians play their strings at mesmerizing speed, coordinating their instruments into an incredible interweaving sound. Daniels voice is full of grit and growl in the band’s opening number “Sundown,” from their 2022 album Wise River, followed by “Comet” from 2019’s Muir Maid, an upbeat number showcasing beautiful harmonies. “Gypsy” from 2017’s Ghost in the Bottle has a more sentimental tone, while “Ebenezer’s Winter” is a frenetically paced, breathtaking instrumental. Additional songs in the set included, “Years of My Life,” “Broken Cage” and “Drowning (…Again).” Accompanying Kitchen Dwellers electrifying music was a spectacular light show, continually flashing an array of brilliant colors that illuminated the stage and the musicians in vibrant patterns and combinations.
Four hours of music later and I’d surely accomplished several goals. I have now attended a performance at the original Brooklyn Bowl….a great multi-faceted music venue. I have seen the Kitchen Dwellers perform again…another amazing performance. And, I have added two more “new” bands to my growing list…ones that I will listen to again and surely search out on their next tour through my area.