The Duo’s Martinis, Makers and Moonshine Mixture
Last Friday the Benevento-Russo Duo made the most of their short time in Los Angeles, playing a pair of shows with an eclectic mix of musical guests. The Duos day started with a free performance at the Getty Museum with longtime friends Something for Rockets, who are currently supporting a new digital release. As has become commonplace when the Duo and Something for Rockets share a bill, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo also took the stage with the indie-rock group under their ‘Superband’ alter-ego for a version of ‘It’s Alright’ near the end of the Rockets set.
The paired performers then scampered over to the Mint for their previous announced late-night Martinis, Makers and Moonshine gig. The late night spectacle began with Benevento on upright piano, teasing themes from ‘The Three Question Marks’ and ‘Impact,’ before diving headfirst into a psychedelic reading of ‘Becky’ that featured the pianist playing the songs main theme on an upright piano (that part is usually covered on Russos drum pads). The Duo then jumped right into the Thelonious Monk tune ‘Bye Ya,’ before finding a dark theme that found it’s way into Mephisto. After that, the guys invited their first guest, former RANA keyboardist Matt Trowbridge (who now lives in LA and performs as Boydaughter), to the stage for his original songs ‘Cafe Con Leche’ and ‘Easy’ (the latter of which Trowbridge recorded with Russo). After that, Russos former Robert Walter’s 20th Congress bandmate Mike Fratantuno, who has since penned songs for the Black Eyed Peas and played bass with Something for Rockets, stepped up for a version of ‘Hamp’s Hump. Next up, Play Pause Stop producer/engineer Tom Biller, who has also worked with Kanye West, Sean Lennon and on the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack, supplied piano and effects for an improvisational soundscape that led into a choice version of Welcome Red.
Later in the evening, the all-female LA duo Dirt Bird also sang with the Benevento-Russo Duo on a pair of songs, before Biller rejoined the Duo on a second drum kit for some additional improvisations. The night ended with Beneventos solo acoustic piano
reading of the My Morning Jacket tune ‘Golden’ (the number has been a staple at the keyboardists recent live shows).
From there, the Duo flew back to Denver, where they joined Devotchka and the Yard Dogs Road Show at the Fillmore Auditoriums Halloween Masquerade Ball. During his set with Benevento, Russo also welcomed his American Babies bandmate Tom Hamilton to the stage for a handful of new songs. The Duo will celebrate Halloween with performances at San Franciscos the Independent tonight and tomorrow.