Benevento Russo Duo 2004-05-20 The Boom Boom Room San Francisco, CA (download)
Doing a Benevento Russo Duo post takes us on another "What F&%$ing Genre is This?" adventure. I've always thought of them as the lovechild of a sticky summer tryst featuring jazz, trance, and rock, played on a keyboard and drums and computers...but that sounds pretty gross. Not quite as out there as Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (try as I might, I can never wrap my head around the musical mess that is JFJO), but not quite structured enough to be defined in any traditional way. What is it that they do? Luckily, the band was nice enough to help me out by putting this gem in their bio:
"They were an indie-rock band that jammed. They were a jazz-combo that rocked."
I couldn't put it better myself.
They're also known for doing some sweet Zeppelin and Radiohead adaptations, which you'll get to hear in this set as well. In fact, the entire 2nd set is all Zeppelin tracks. I'm not a big fan of posting cover bands, but I think when you hear this you will see why I decided to refer to these as adaptations. If you're a fan of The Bad Plus, expect something similar, and if these are elevator music covers as I have heard from a critic, I'll ride that elevator any day of the week.
I chose this set because it's very true to the Duo as I found them 5 or 6 years ago. Don't get me wrong, I really like their newer stuff too, but this is a great starting point for a new Duo fan and a nice trip down memory lane for longtime fans. The first set is a great cross section of old Duo tracks, and the Zeppelin set is quite good, and also just a lot of fun to listen to. Benevento and Russo have a really noteworthy ability to build up a track, so many start of slow and minimal, layers are slowly added, and suddenly several minutes in you will find yourself rocking out, frenzied and really experiencing a musical climax with them. The Duo at their best has an ability to build anticipation and provide payoff that so few groups can manage. Pardon me if I am offending any of our more chaste readers, but it's a musical orgasm, frankly. Get an extra pair of undies ready for listening to this show.
See for yourself in this very small sampling at the end of a performance of "Big Whopper":
The full set was:
Set 1: Vortex, Abduction Pose, Darts, Myxamatosis, Sunny's Song, Mephisto, ?, Marzipan
Set 2: The Song Remains The Same, The Ocean, What Is And What Should Never Be, Immigrant Song, Ramble On, Moby Dick, Heartbreaker, Four Sticks, Bring It On Home,
Encore 1: Fool In The Rain
Encore 2: Black Dog *
Sound Quality is an A-. Thanks to Jeff Patton and Brad Leblanc for taping and transferring!