Reviews > Shows
Marco Benevento at 92YTribeca
New York, NY
Marco Benevento arrived at New York’s 92YTribeca to play a rare solo show, only to be rocking out with his friends, drummer Andy Borger (Norah Jones), and bassist Dave Dreiwitz (Ween), by show’s end. As Benevento explained to the crowd, Borger and Dreiwitz happened to be in New York and Marco, ever the gracious host, suggested that they play with him because it would be more fun than a solo show.
But before Benevento took the stage, some of Marco’s other friends, Superhuman Happiness, got the crowd dancing with their catchy, pop-infused afrobeat. After they finished up, Benevento started things off with a mesmerizing solo performance before inviting his friends to the stage. It is truly a wonder to watch Marco play solo – one minute he is fiddling with various pedals and toys to create a rich atmosphere of sound on “Two Of You” or My Morning Jacket’s “Golden,” – and the next he delivers an intricate and relatively effect-free take on Thelonius Monk’s “Bye-Ya.”
As Dreiwitz and Borger joined in, Benevento cracked a bottle of Maker’s Mark and the evening took on a more adventurous feel. Perhaps emboldened by the whiskey, Benevento and his bandmates ducked into some unfamiliar territory, performing two brand new songs. Benevento announced the two songs, “Escape Horses” and “Fireworks,” will be released on a 45 next month, and fittingly each song displayed a different side of Marco. “Escape Horses” opened with Dave Dreiwitz using a slide on his bass, creating bending, distorted notes that snugly fit Marco’s moody, psychedelic composition. “Fireworks,” on the other hand, showcased Marco’s genius ear for coming up with Beatle-esque catchy, joyful melodies.
Marco followed the new songs by launching into “RISD” from Between Needles & Nightfall, which found him layering psychedelic effects and a furious piano solo over the rhythm section’s pounding groove. “Bus Ride” followed, and with a cascading organ riff, crashing drums and balance between dissonant psychedelia and catchy melody; the song neatly encapsulates Marco’s unique approach to songwriting in a five-minute journey. The band closed out the show with “Heartbeats,” a cover of The Knife that is a song perfectly suited for Benevento’s trio. Between Dreiwitz’s fuzzed out bassline and Benevento and Borger locking into an exciting jam, their take on the song left the crowd with the feeling that this is simply how the song was meant to be played, as all great covers do.
Marco and his band then left the stage, only to return for a cover-filled encore. It was only appropriate to play Led Zeppelin’s “Friends” to begin the encore, as a night that was supposed to be about Marco alone ended up featuring his friends so prominently. Continuing with that theme, Marco invited out Superhuman Happiness for an a capella cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Our House” and The Madness’ song of the same name that ended things on a fun note. Over the course of the night, Marco wowed the crowd with a spellbinding solo performance and plenty of surprises – from unexpected sit ins to brand new material – that made this quite the special solo show.
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