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Steve Wynn And The Miracle 3 At Bowery Ballroom, Friday, December 32nd, 2011, Reviewed

In 1982, Richard Fantina and I were hanging at East Village Eyes offices on Avenue B, when the review copy of the Dream Syndicates first album showed in the mail. We put it on and both liked it and later hung at Richard's place and kept flipping it over. I liked it a lot and wrote a paragraph on it for my column, Fantina loved the Velvet Underground band influenced album and wrote an excellent full length review I wish I still had his review -Fantina's txtual writing is too dry for me, his music criticism was always on the money.

Decades later,  I wished my late editor Fantina was watching the leader of the Dream Syndicate Steve Wynn's very good set at Bowery electric last Friday. He'd have liked it a lot. He'd have liked it a lot more than I did and I liked it fine.

Wynn's band the Miracle 3 is  a very good,psychedelic sludge jam band, and Wynn is an economical and smart live performer. The band jammed out but it was a sparse live jamming, the solos kept to a minimum as they went in search of community. of a groove. And found it just about always. 24 year old second guitarist interrupts a song to demand Wynn change key, Wynn obliges, before noting his voice has changed . Mid song he smiles at Jason and mouth's "You're right". In return Jason plays his best solo of the night, a hard strummed, energetic lift off. Earlier bassist Dave deCastro finger picked his way through "How To Fall" (I think: I'm not well up versed on Wynn's solo career). And Linda Pittman -who has played for a major strata of American alt of the 1990s, and co-wrote some songs with Steve, holds it down and she needs to, because there is a lot of improvising and falling back going on.

But we are there to see Steve and Steve looks great, the audience not so much. It is lean, graying at the temples, his voice about the same, maybe a little deeper, and his songbook pretty amazing and he took us from 2002's "Tell Me When It's Over" all the way thru 2010's "Consider The Source". A team player all the way, and, despite his claim that the band haven't play together in awhile, I can't hear any rust.

Wynn wings it between the Paisley revolution (he was a major part) and a garage storminess, he is a GREAT LEADER. Watching the band up close in the packed out Bowery electric (David Fricke of Rolling Stone was lurking in a corner), his fine tempered and team leader bravado is a great example. he never plays alone, always turning to a member of a band and working on the connection between himself and another player. On the very last song of an overlong four song encore, Wynn and Jason step off the stage and play in the middle of the floor.

So if I liked it so much, what's the beef?

The set was too long and some of the songs were a little saggy, especially towards the end. At 90 minutes, the last third went on and on, and a four song encore is ALWAYS a crap idea. Here, despite set highlight "Wild Mercury" being the penultimate number of the night, l had lost concentration by the end. My friend Richard wouldn't have, he would have reveled in 30 years of Wynn magic.

Richard Fantna's Grade: A

Mine: B+

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