Freaks Ball XII, 1/21/12

Freaks Ball XII
Brooklyn Bowl
New York City, NY
January 21, 2012



It was quite the night this past Saturday at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl, the venue that hosted the 12th edition of the annual Freaks Ball. Spread over two sets, the evening delivered on exactly what it promises to do each and every year: provide its audience with once in a lifetime collaborations that make up an improvisational supergroup and leave nary an ass unshaken.


Kicking things off and effectively warming things up was a set by pianist Erik Deutsch (Norah Jones), guitarist Scott Metzger (RANA), drummer Joe Russo (The Duo, Furthur) and the lovely Tel-Aviv native bassist Hagar Ben-Ari (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Moby). The one-off ensemble reeled through pure improvisation, doing exactly what they were supposed to do: get the room, souls and limbs respectively warmed up, lubricated and stretched.


Set two featured the pillars of the ball, or Ball-Stars as they affectionately known: Marco Benevento (Garage A Trois), Joe Russo (Furthur), Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds) and Ron Johnson (Warren Haynes Band). As though having Benevento and Russo on the same stage for an entire set wasn’t enough long live The Duo), as an added bonus, Alecia Chakour (Alecia Chakour & The Osrah, Warren Haynes Band) was on hand from the set’s inception to lend a beautiful voice and a much needed feminine presence to the otherwise sausage-fest stage.


Of course this lineup was merely temporary and in the fifth number of the night, guest number one, Eric Krasno (Soulive, Lettuce) made his way onto the stage that he knows all too well.


Krasno remained for the duration and was subsequently joined by Warren Haynes for “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love.”

Just as Krasno did, Haynes opted in to remain the game for the remainder of the set that was highlighted by “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”  — that also brought Metzger back out of the shadows and onto the stage. With Warren, Krasno, Metzger and Roberts yielding, sliding and riding back and forth, one to another hroughout the twelve minute rendition, the mission to deliver raw and uncut ear ecstasy was beyond accomplished.


The evening capped with a tune dubbed “Freaks Ball Reprise.”  The number featured the core four and as as the final sound waves made their way through the room, the crowd seemed awe-stricken, no doubt all having been fully satiated by what the had just ingested… no matter how musically starved their belly was when they arrived at the Bowl.


To download an audience recording of this show, click here.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Vernon Webb

Check out a video of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” w/ Warren, Krasno & Metzger below the photo gallery.