The Bad Plus at the Oriental Theater, 10/19/13
THE BAD PLUS at THE ORIENTAL THEATER | 10/19/13
After the Bad Plus opened its set with "Pound for Pound" and "Wolf Out," bassist Reid Anderson told a packed Oriental Theater, "We have to roll out the brand tunes because it's that time of year," he said. "The season changes. We have to change up. We have to evolve just like everything." The trio worked four new songs into its hour-and-a-half long set, three cuts from its most recent effort, last year's Made Possible as well as other tunes from albums released over the last decade.
See also: The Bad Plus makes good on Made Possible
The trio, which also features pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King, eased into the set with Anderson's stunning ballad "Pound for Pound," which is also the opening cut on Made Possible. It started off somewhat placid and relaxed, with King hitting the snare lightly and Iverson cycling through a simple melody repeatedly, and it seemed that with every few cycles the song gradually and subtly intensified, with King hitting the snare a bit harder, until the song peaked, and the band ended it on about the same level as they started it.
Over the last thirteen years, these guys have clearly shown that they can be equally gripping on the ballads as they are on the more intense and visceral cuts, like King's aggressive song "Wolf Out," which also appears on Made Possible. After playing that cut, Anderson joked that King was working on a very powerful strain of medical marijuana of the same name.
Iverson's commanding solo on his new composition, "Mr. Now," garnered a fair amount of applause and yells, as did King's brief yet thunderous solo. After Anderson introduced another new Iverson's composition, "Inevitable Western," he added, "I always like to add that it's a Western than can't be avoided." The song opened with Anderson playing an unhurried bass line before King joined in on a laid-back beat, providing the pulse with rim shots and a rope of bells in the other hand.