Friday September 21, 2012
From Rolling Stone
The Bad Plus Raise a Ruckus on Tour Opener in Knoxville
By: Ryan Reed
A few songs into their lean, heavy-hitting set at Knoxville’s Bijou Theatre, during the reflective coda of “The Empire Strikes Backwards” Bad Plus drummer Dave King squeaked an amplified toy duck, while pianist Ethan Iverson bathed the enthusiastic crowd in oceanic arpeggios. Given the Latin-tinged free-jazz ruckus that preceded, the trio had earned a moment to catch their collective breath.
So they did: Iverson remained hunched over the ivories, as if his piano were whispering him elusive secrets – occasionally stretching his arms backward into a fatigued superhero pose, like Superman after an all-night bender. Meanwhile, bassist Reid Anderson inhaled deeply – and frequently – as dark blue lights snaked across the stage.
The Bad Plus may have been a little out of shape during their tour-opening gig, but their reliable chops showed no signs of rust. Billed as “An Evening With the Bad Plus,” this no-frills performance lived up to that classy title. Without an opening act, the instrumental trio leisurely burned through an hour-and-a-half set, touching on a few fan favorites and ignoring the trademark, off-the-wall pop covers of their early albums, mostly debuting stellar material from their brand-new studio work, Made Possible.
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