Live at Lupo’s 06.12.04 – The Slip
The Slip is another band I have to see now. Live at Lupo's (June 12th, 2004; now that's fast) is a disc you'll certainly play through a couple times. Live shows are currently relatively easy to hear over and over, thanks to Internet trading, and it is easy to be jaded about just another live disc. But when it all comes together as nicely as this one does, I'd be tempted to pick up anything you want to throw at me.
During the first set, "Old George" has the fresh breath feel of the baby Rolling Stones, when they rocked. "More Intense Surveillance" swirls up and trancy guitar harmonics are the order. Friedman shows his stuff nicely. Both Barrs are perfect underpins for some intricate bass walks. Andrew Barr's echo chamber percussion triggers "Fear of Falling" with Brad Barr and Friedman both on guitars. I can't say I'm a fan of the vocals, but then there is redemption.
"Nellie Jean" has a warm, homey bass introduction. Brad matches the melody and throws an extra blanket on the audience. It's a song you have to sway to. They hit a bar of jazz and are back into country goodness. Andrew rides a tight pocket, slapping a few branches for flair along the way, taking "Nellie Jean" on some interesting excursions that make you wonder what the song will sound like next time. Andrew grooves tribally while Brad Barr and Friedman's guitars whistle, seemingly depressed. Cymbal rolls bring assurance, the snare comes deep under tom combinations, and Friedman grips the undercurrent with a bow to his bass. Andrew Barr dribbles out in accented, controlled flails; by this point you'd be stomping in large African dance patterns rather than swaying, if you haven't been overcome by the hypnotism and passed out for a few.
More cowbells! Their ting becomes "The Air, The Body" after 20 glorious minutes of "Nellie Jean." Brad picks a Caribbean breeze and Peter Barr chops at his steel pan; the groundwork is down for a more pleasant song than "Fear of Falling." Peter Barr's steel drum is pretty understated. If you're going to bring out a steel musician, then let him rip. The calypso-country vibe is hard to hate on and a firecracker of a set closer.
Peter Barr is reintroduced on steel pan, along with Django Cabano on percussion, for "Ho Syne No Day" / "The Bongo Dance." The bass melts a passionate Latin/Caribbean groove sizzled by steel pan combustion. At around six minutes in, Peter and Brad Barr harmonize a duel, while Brad concedes into reggae upchucks. Friedman gallops into a Western gunfight and proves who top dog is.
The encore of "Get Me With Fuji" is all urban funk rhythm and percussion. . Brad scratches at his strings, leading to jazzy riffs and then everything turns jungle and. Andrew has been tight all night and exploratory, but nowhere near as fast and concisely intricate as now, teamed with Django Cabano's apt hand percussion. After this dessert, breakfast might not have room. John Lennon's "Imagine" is an extreme (ever appropriate) downshift. Friedman plucks the melody, accented by the Barrs, the audience singing as one, before Brad Barr slides the remainder of the song at the helm. We need more bass players who can ignore their slots as rhythm men and take some initiative.
An all-instrumental tour, a la Galactic’s fall 2004 outing, might not be a bad idea. Still any vocal slip-ups don’t detract substantially from the overall experience. I know I’ll try to be at their next nearby show.