The Independent in San Francisco played host to a night of musical pageantry as former String Cheese Incident keyboard wizard Kyle Hollingsworth and Animal Liberation Orchestrafs song writing prodigy Zach Gill played an uninterrupted evening of cheerful songs and joyous jams.
Zach Gill, whose resume not only includes the many years he has spent with his high school buddies of A.L.O. performing cleverly written yet definitely mellow beach grooves fitting to his California pedigree, but also a stint as a member of Jack Johnsonfs band, came ready to entertain as he opened his set with a few solo accordion songs including "Kids" by electro-pop band MGMT and a hilarious rendition of Charlie Danielfs "Devil Went Down to Georgia" done entirely with a Yiddish accent. He quickly moved over to the keyboard where he was backed by the members of Hollingworthfs band and played a number of songs off of his 2008 released "Zach Gillfs Stuff" as well as inviting A.L.O. band mate and boy wonder of the acoustic guitar Dan Lebowitz to sit in on the lap steel. Most of the songs were straight forward, but near the end of the set, with the added energy of Lebofs psychedelic lead riffs, the band stretched out for a few jams, giving Hollingsworthfs extensive stage lights a little workout as well.
After a very short break Hollingsworthfs band returned, this time led by the man himself. Hollingsworth has seen further success after the temporary(?) dissolution of his claim to fame and fifteen year career with String Cheese Incident. He has recently released an album cleverly entitled "Then Therefs Now" which is laden with electronically accented, groovy songs somewhat evocative of Beck featuring thought provoking verses, catchy hooks.
His set started with a bit of a tropical island feel reminiscent of the gleeful grooves of his former tour de force. A wide array of songs from many different sources seemed to make appearances on this evening. While many of the songs came from his most recent album (as he is, of course, promoting it), he also dusted off a few Cheese tunes including "Boo Boofs Pik-a-Nik" and "Piece of Mine" as well as the ever popular Talking Heads cover "Naive Melody." Every song seemed to include a jam as the band explored the reaches of improvisation ranging from guitar solo heavy rock and synth driven dance party to the depths of space, back and beyond. A surprisingly small turnout made for an unprecedented amount of dance space as every body in the house cut some nasty rug.
After what must have been almost two hours of nonstop music, Zach Gill joined Kyle inside of his keyboard world and Dan Lebowitz returned with his piping hot steel guitar. Nothing was said as they prepared until finally Zach Gill stepped to the mic: "I read the news today, oh boy..." which was received by the audience with an explosion of excitement. A full on sing along ensued to first half of The Beatlesf White Album masterpiece "A Day in the Life" as they so smoothly transitioned into a long, well crafted jam invoking the spirit of Lebowitzfs lap steel before giving every member a chance to show their stuff as they introduced everyone on stage. Finally, returning to a monstrously peaking jam that pinnacled thrillingly with the second half of "A Day in the Life" the show had reached its glorious conclusion.
This evening seemed to be more then just a concert to the musicians who all appeared to be enjoying themselves at least as much as everyone in the audience. Gill and Hollingsworth will conclude their West Coast promenade at the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham, WA before Kyle and Co. head to the Atlantic seaboard for an eleven show East Coast tour. For more information, sights and sounds visit www.zachgill.com and www.kylehollingsworth.com.