Artist Profile: The Bridge
Products of Baltimore, The Bridge has a sound that’s hard to describe; at its simplest, their music is improv-based, blues-tinged, funky rock ‘n’ roll.
The Bridge has a loyal fanbase who have helped bring them all the way from the Inner Harbor to Europe. The band has played festivals in locations as varied as All Good Festival in West Virginia and Blue Balls Festival in Europe, but don’t think they’re only interested in hitting up the festival circuit–2008 has seen them headline shows all over the country, from New York to Oregon. After all that, their home venue is still The 8×10, a small club on East Cross Street where The Bridge last week completed another residency.
The band has six members: Cris Jacobs, guitar/vocals; Kenny Liner, mandolin/beatbox; Dave Markowitz, bass/vocals; Mike Gambone, drums; Patrick Rainey, sax; and Mark Brown, keys. That lineup is one of the most distinct differences between The Bridge and every other band on the scene; nowhere else will you find mandolin, beatbox, sax, and keys in the same set–or song. Each member’s individual talent is distinguishable during their performances, but they are able to blend their abilities so to create a unified, unique sound. A noticeable strength of the band, however, is their ability to play well with guests. Performers such as Mike Gordon (the bassist of Phish), Eric Lindell, Jamie McLean, and Shodekeh have sat in at various shows; each of them added to The Bridge’s energy, and seemed to have an instant connection with all of the band members.
The band members’ relationship is such that, with only a head nod, they can communicate the most risky musical intention. A drawn-out, brand new jam can come about with barely any advanced planning, and though sometimes that leads to mistakes–The Bridge are humans too, I promise–or unexpected results, those changes in the music can lead them to great progression. In a discussion with the band, the members made clear that though sometimes certain choices don’t work out as intended, that doesn’t mean it isn’t for the best. The beauty of jam music is that it’s ever-changing; a mistake could actually sound better than what was actually supposed to be played.
The band members’ enthusiasm is contagious; their enjoyment of what they’re doing is obvious. Offstage, the energy isn’t much different. As much fun to hang out with as to listen to, as easy to interview as to groove around, they put up no pretenses when they rock you from the stage. Go see a show; afterwards, go say hi. You won’t regret it. These boys are the next big thing.
The Bridge is scheduled to tour through the rest of 2008; check out their calendar here. On October 21, “Blind Man’s Hill” is being released by Hyena Records; join the boys at their album drop parties on October 17 at the 9:30 Club, with Little Feat, and November 26, at Ram’s Head Live, with Ekoostik Hookah. Preorder the album from Amazon here. For a free sample of the album, check out the band’s MySpace page, or become a fan on Facebook.
Thursday night’s setlist from Sullivan Hall, NY:
Get Back Up
Keep Diggin’ in the Cold Ground>
Come on in My Kitchen
Let Me Off This Train
Guilded Splinters* (w/ Brad Dunson on trombone) *Dr John Cover