This gig was one of those I was looking forward to with high colour. Finally about to see legendary The Bad Plus playing live! Their carrier started already at the end of the 20th century, when the band was founded of Reid Anderson (bass), Dave King (drums) and pianist Ethan Iverson. In 2017 they announced that Iverson would be leaving the Bad Plus and Orrin Evans was going to replace him. For some this news came as a shock, but it may have actually started a new phase for the band with fresh perspective. So far they have released 13 albums in the first line-up (2000-2017) and two albums with the new pianist (Never Stop II in 2018 and Activate Infinity in 2019). Nothing could sum up this change better that the words of bassist Reid Anderson, founding member himself: “For us, The Bad Plus is above all this statement about group music; We want to carry that commitment forward. We really believe that it’s good for the music, and we believe it’s good to be a symbol for that, out in the world.” (source)
The Bad Plus is known for their unique sound and flair for live performance, as stated on their website. Well, their show at Victoria was no exception. From the first sounds of the first song they’ve played, “Seams”, they’ve managed to dumbfound the audience. I had goosebumps during the whole show. It was gripping. Simply beautiful. A journey through unlimited piano sounds from Orrin, deep bass scores from Reid, and delicate, sophistcated percussion sounds given by Dave. The second track they’ve played was “Wolf”. “It’s about wolfs’ nature”, summed up Reid before playing. “Next one is called Red Door. It’s about red doors”. At least we got the point.
Reid presented the band two or three times and I liked how they played short jingels for each other, after their name was presented. Also after the show Reid announced that if 5-7 people will stay a bit longer, say hi or buy a record, it would mean a lot to them psychologically.
It turned out that there were more than 7 people who stayed to greet the band, including me. I even ripped off a poster from the wall and went straight to Reid to say hi, congratulate on a great performance and get a signature. In the meantime, while we were talking, I got David’s signature, but Orrin suddenly disappeared from the bar, and of course I couldn’t leave without all of the signatures.
Everyone was passing by, but most of them couldn’t resist to say hello or just shake Reid’s hand and thank him for the most amazing concert. The after party was slowly getting over, but I was still missing Orrin’s signature. Reid told me that he is probably at another show in the club nearby, because his friend is playing there tonight. – If you want me to show you where it is, I am sure that Orrin would be more than happy to see you with the poster there. Well, of course I couldn’t say no to that! Dave joined us and together with 2/3 of The Bad Plus I left Victoria and we ended up at Herr Nilsen. Orrin was sitting by the bar, focused on the music. Adam Holzman & Brave New World was playing. We’ve decided to join for the last 30 min and grabbed a beer. After this show was over, I got Orrin’s signature, picture with The Bad Plus, then got to hang out with them a bit more, talk and exchange contacts. What a night! What a band! You wouldn’t wanna miss their show in your town. And don’t forget to say hi afterwards and grab a beer with them. Maybe you’ll get a similar story.