Opening their headlining portion of a night at The Bowery Ballroom with their relatively newer song “Parachute” was a fitting move for Space Bacon, given the song’s lyrics which in part describe a return trip to New York City. The four member jamtronica band were performing for the first time in New York since December 2019. By the end of “Parachute,” the evening in glory. Space Bacon was back in the big apple, they had brought a wall-to-wall crowd into The Bowery Ballroom, and in service of the moment, they rocked it big time.

Just yesterday, the band released an official SBD recording of the entire show, which you can stream below or check out on their BandCamp page.

Space Bacon are one of the most capable jamtronica projects on the entire east coast, certainly in the NYC music scene. With a original material at the ready, every live show is an endurance run filled with continually unique improvisational work. A strong set one at Bowery Ballroom . The gooey middle portion of the video game classic “Donkey Kong,” always a strong cover from the band, featured blistering drum work smacking off against the sounds of deep synth and vintage low-fi guitar. “Bumpadump” by contrast worked through a swanky slower funk out with help on saxophone from band friend Uncle Vin.

Space Bacon at The Bowery Ballroom with special guest Uncle Vin

A lot of the best of Space Bacon courses its way through jams that are deliciously dark. Intensity and brooding jams are jet fueled with a constant of continual, airtight groove. Coming at the second half of set two, first with a full length “Flamethrower.” Again, fitting: The band had performed a high-rate version of this track two years earlier at their last New York show, a late-nighter at Mercury Lounge. But topping it for what was perhaps the apex of the evening at Bowery Ballroom was a “Hollow Man” “Vectorman” sandwich, the latter of which tunneled through a beautifully patient and steady jam and back into the former with a focused, digitized fury. With some loop samples of Goodfellas, Bar Resuce, and Bernie Sanders (a reprise from the prior weekend’s throwdown at Higher Ground Burlington), this was City Bacon at its best yet.  

This Bowery party was made all the more massive—over a five hour concert— with the invitation of two other favorites of the NYC jam scene. Microcave, a much newer but equally promising jamtronica quartet, set the night off right. There is an aggressiveness to not only their jamming but compositions as well. These guys made Bowery dance just as hard but there is a sense that musically this band is getting after it with confidence and ambition. 

Escaper meanwhile had some moments that might have even rivaled for best of the whole night. Whereas Space Bacon and Microcave are fully groove oriented, Escaper brings in moody, mindful rock, and with it screaming sonic meditation. There’s a larger than life vibe that comes in Escaper’s greatest moments on stage: it’s similar to the experience at a Radiohead or My Morning Jacket show, where the band’s sound and power both become so towering they sound like an almost unsustainable force. For this joined forces with Lespecial bassist Luke Bemand and Space Bacon drummer Sam Crespo, and the two fit into the band’s mold with surprising ease.

Space Bacon crowd at The Bowery Ballroom

Down on the Bowery floor, it was a wide range between reunion and introduction. Some in the crowd were celebrating their fiftieth, eightieth, even one hundredth Space Bacon shows. One the other end of the spectrum, there was one man in the mix who mentioned that his girlfriend had dragged him to the show to see the band for the first time. Talking to him before they took the stage, he was invested but skeptical. Checking in with him in between sets, his eyes were wide and he was sold. Similarly, a select few had not even heard of Escaper or Microcave yet—but surely they left the show afterwards as fans for the long term.

One of life’s secret pleasures for jam and festy music lovers is seeing weird music in classy places. We’ve seen Space Bacon, Escaper, and Microcave all blow the doors off hole in the wall music clubs and bars, but Saturday night delivered the opportunity to see them being their collective alien rock grooves to the upscale Bowery Ballroom. 

Stream the official soundboard recording of Space Bacon’s performance with the link to their BandCamp page. Below that, check out some photos of their set at Bowery Ballroom and the sets of Escaper and Microcave.