Article and Photos by Miles Hurley
Name any popular spot to hear live music around the northeast, and Max Creek probably played a show there—or more likely multiple shows—at one point in their now more than forty-five year career. After last Friday night, they can add show number two at Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre to the list, in making a return to the Port Chester jam scene hub for the first time in over six years (2013 being their last performance there). The band played two high energy sets to a full house, and you can stream video of the entire show below, thanks to Dayglo Ventures and Relix.
“Jones” was the time-tested but welcome opener, but it was the combative, combining push of drummers Bill Carbone and Jamemurrell Stanley into song two of the night, Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright,” that really kicked off the night. With this two-song swing, the ‘Super Creekend,’ as you can often hear it referred to, was officially under way (the band followed up Friday night with a show Saturday night at one of their biggest mainstays, Northampton’s Pearl Street Ballroom).
There is no two-man percussion team in the game quite like Carbone and Stanley, especially when the pair are locked in a seriously focused backing groove or a towering breakdown. Late into the evening, Carbone and Stanley were both the bridge and the climax on “Cruel World,” beside appropriate bass bombs from band member John Rider, and they connected the song’s different improvisational sections via a comfier drum break but then also supercharged it’s big ending.
Any Max Creek show will be fraught with at least a few old school covers, but not the more typical, radio-friendly stuff. Keyboardist Mark Mercier secured Dire Straits’ lesser known “Calling Elvis,” for instance, as a super tight version thanks to his dynamite soloing, which was eventually set to square off with guitarist Scott Murawski. Sly’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and the old country rocker “Six Days On The Road” were both great, but it was the energized transition between the two that was pure Max Creek.
But the band’s original songs always get the best treatment. “I Will Always See Your Face” was relentless in it’s last six or seven minutes, and it’s immediate follow-up “Something is Forming” grandly topped off set one, sailing on at least two peaks of bright chorded, feel-good jamming during that time length. Up in the same realm as this was the gorgeous, thoughtfully executed, space-centered jam that comprised the first half or so of the over twenty-minute set two opener, “Emerald Eyes.”
Check out a video stream of Max Creek’s full performance at Garcia’s below, courtesy of Dayglo Ventures and Relix. For more information about Max Creek, head to the band’s website here. For all future shows happening at Garcia’s, head to their website here.