Lucid Culture


The Brilliant Mistakes Rock the Rockwood

Friday night at the Rockwood the Brilliant Mistakes were a blast from the past in more ways than one. New York’s best oldschool R&B revivalists at the turn of the century, they were ten years ahead of their time in looking back to the 60s for soul and groove. Yet this was more of a rock show: the songs, a mix of older and more recent material, were like something you’d hear about at powerpopcriminals. Or, one suspects, if somebody like Bob Lefsetz mentioned them, he’d bring a surprisingly enthusiastic horde out of the woodwork: songs as catchy as theirs, even in this ever-more-balkanized era, are what build a fan base.

Bassist Erik Philbrook – whose nimble, incisively melodic lines amounted to having an extra lead player in the band along with the acoustic and electric guitar – traded off on vocals with keyboardist Alan Walker, who shifted from soulful organ to reverberating Rhodes piano, as well as the house grand piano on a couple of numbers. They opened on a high note with the catchy, distantly Byrds-flavored The Day I Found My Hands, from their most recent album Distant Drumming, following with that cd’s second track, the biting minor-key powerpop gem Monday Morning. A more recent track, possibly titled Carry the Weight of the World motored along on a catchy ascending melody, followed by a fiery version of The Girl You Left Behind and the Elvis Costello-inflected electric piano anthem Feed the Elephant (as in, feed the elephant in the room), both tracks from their 2003 album Dumb Luck.

The energy picked up with the vintage Stax/Volt groove of She’s No Angel, echoed on an even more boisterous oldschool soul stomp (Seaside Moments, maybe? This band’s song titles aren’t always obvious from the lyrics). After a gorgeously country-tinged number sung by Walker, they went back in time for an unselfconsciously joyous romp through the new wave eighth notes of Split Enz’ Six Months in a Leaky Boat. At the end, Walker hinted that he might do Tim Finn’s meandering, plaintive piano outro, but he shut it down after a couple of bars. The era when big record labels signed bands this intelligent was over decades ago; still, it’s hard to imagine that there isn’t a cool indie film set in the 80s, in some stage of production right now, that would be a perfect fit for a soundtrack from these guys. The Brilliant Mistakes’ next gig is at Rodeo Bar on Feb 8 at around 10 PM.


January 18, 2011 - Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks, LC! This means a lot to us. Maintain your golden ears and supreme musical tastes! Cheers, Erik/The Brilliant Mistakes

    Comment by Erik Philbrook | January 19, 2011 | Reply

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