Marco Benevento Trio, Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY – 5/22
Rounding off the Between the Needles and Nightfall album release tour, Marco Benevento returned home to a convivial host of friends and fans at New York’s, Bowery Ballroom. Sweating off an ambitious first half of the year—touring with Surprise Me Mr. Davis, Garage A Trois, Benevento Trio—Benevento wielded all musical armaments to ensure a grand affair in the world’s greatest city.
Packed to the gills, Benevento loyalists jockeyed for position to claim their bay for the evening’s festivities. Following a brief pep talk offstage, the band stepped onto the dais one by one; first Andrew Barr, then Reed Mathis, then the host himself.
Wasting no time, Benevento cued the circuit bent sounds and went right into Between the Needles and Nightfall lead track “Greenpoint.” As the ice melted in Benevento’s glass, he quickly snagged a sip and transitioned into the second, self titled track off the new record, “Between the Needles and Nightfall.” The hummingbird effects comfortably padded the gliding bass groove of Mathis’ lead. The trio walloped into a crescendo of gadgets and musical disorder, with sirens launching the listener into an aural head spin. “Two of You” followed, as Barr held down the rhythm section while many textures and ambient reverberations arose.
Then Benevento took the mic. “Hey everyone, thanks for coming out. This is the CD release party…”“And Katie’s birthday!” A fan then interjected, screaming from the middle of the venue. Benevento laughed, and continued, “Yes, it’s my wife’s birthday. Mommy’s away from the nest tonight, yeah!”
The crowd erupted as he went on. “We’re going to play the best song in the world, it’s called, “The Real Morning Party.” Without taking a seat, Benevento dove in. Channeling My Morning Jacket, the group segued into the tune “Golden,” where Benevento’s long intro was soon abruptly met by Barr’s dominating drum presence. The two jam-off as Benevento’s eyes closed, and the keys drifted away into a faded, synthesized abyss.
Benevento then approached the microphone again; “We’re going to play as late as we can tonight, so we’re going to do two sets. Let’s party ‘til dawn.” The crowd exploded as Benevento looked out at his wife and whispered a few final words, “Alright, here you go baby,” and performed his version of “Heartbeats” by Jose Gonzalez. The set closed with the blissful, ‘chopsticks’ melody, “Atari.”
Barr triggered the second set, accompanied by Benevento’s opening effects. “RISD” surfaced with wailing sirens, crackling effects, and arpeggio chaos. Then, Benevento sat solo and played the happy birthday melody to his wife.
The banjo-infused parade track “Bus Ride” rode into “It Came From You” providing the right amount of synth and layering to excite, yet comfort, listeners. Benevento’s classic style stood front and center with toy-ish bass beat rhythms hinting GAT peer Mike Dillon.
After teasing Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying,” the trio kicked through the proverbial door with “Twin Killers.” Mathis and Barr created a heavy bass blanket for Benevento’s unyielding dominance, pumping the hearts of everyone there in attendance.
“You Know I’m No Good” was a comedic conduit to “Call Home,” a reverie tune with raspy whispers, baby jargon, woodwinds and heavy effects.
Technologically digressing, “Record Book,” displayed Benevento’s work on the acoustic piano traveling through sounds of memory, sorrow and separation until we finally reached the conclusion with “Snow Lake.”
On an evening that repeatedly dabbled with perfection, all seemed surreal as things came to a close. And in Benevento fashion, he brought out Slip founder and Surprise Me Mr. Davis band mate Marc Friedman to help bring it home with “Mephisto.”
To say the show went by in a New York minute is an understatement. Benevento enlivened a pack house of allegiant fans in his home city and left nothing at the door but angelic memories of time well spent with ‘friends’ and family, turning his wife’s birthday into a celebration for all.