As summer turns to fall
Benevento last played with Reed Mathis and Andrew Barr in 2011.
As the clock struck midnight at Soundcheck Studios on Friday, Marco Benevento, Reed Mathis and Andrew Barre were having too much fun to leave the first night of As summer slides into fall close at the scheduled end time. Instead, Marco taught his original trio his upbeat song “At The Show” on stage, providing a euphoric ending to a memorable night in Pembroke, Massachusetts.
Presented by JamBase, As summer turns to fall is a two-night live music experience at Soundcheck Studios that started last night. The Marco Benevento Trio – made up of Marco on keyboards, bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Andrew Barr – headlined the five-hour gig with their first performance in more than a decade following sets by William Tyler and Elf Club.
Soundcheck Studios is nestled in a nondescript corporate park between Boston and Cape Cod. Although the facility doesn’t look like much from the outside, Soundcheck is a premier venue created by musicians for musicians and live music fans. And you can’t have sound in the name of an installation without perfect acoustics. The owners’ intention to provide attendees with transcendent experiences earned the venue a nod in the Best Live Music Venue of the Year (250+) category for the 2022 Boston Music Awards.
William Tyler was the first of three incredibly diverse musical acts to take the Soundcheck Studios stage on Friday. Tyler showed off his expert instrumental guitar styles during an hour-long performance. Audience members watched in hushed silence as the Nashville native deftly worked on 2010’s opener ‘Missionary Ridge’ here is the spirit.
Although Tyler’s songs may be instrumentals, they each featured distinct melodies in which he had the guitar sing as the lead “vocals.” Tyler played acoustic for the first three tracks of his set. The latest unplugged selection, “Alpine Star,” told the story of a fictional town in the Old West. A version appears on the 42-year-old musician’s latest official studio album, 2019 go west. However, “Alpine Star” was stripped down to its basics at Soundcheck Studios, as opposed to the full band version featured on the LP.
The guitarist pulled out his Fender Telecaster for the final four songs of his set. A highlight was a jaw-dropping “Highway Anxiety” in which he created sound pads using a looper and his instrument’s tremolo bar. Tyler then asked the crowd if he had enough time to play an extra song or two. The audience barked ‘two’ in unison, but William warned: ‘They each have 10 minutes. No one was complaining as Tyler worked on “We Can’t Go Home Again” in a jaw-dropping cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Attics Of My Life.” The former incorporated William’s striking skills, while the latter was a respectful tribute to the dead.
While Tyler noted that his music wasn’t exactly one to get people dancing on a Friday night, the second band of the night hosted a 90-minute dance party. Elf’s Club delivered a seven-song performance at a venue they’ve played numerous times over the three years they’ve been open. Those who only saw the collective at the Lizard Lounge house in Cambridge were in for a different Elf affair with the set spread out across the big stage at Soundcheck Studios. LD Vin Pugliese provided a full light show not too far off from those found in much larger spaces.
A program of the Club d’Elf with the conductor Mike “Micro” Rivard (bass, sintar) with the guitarist Van Gordon Martinsaxophonist André Foglianoturntable Mr Rourke and drummer Tommy Benedetti began their part of the evening with the Gnawa song “Zeed Al Maal”. Micro was on sintar for the trancey groove and switched to bass for the “Instar” that followed.
Local guitarist Van Gordon Martin shredded his fiery first solo of the night on “Instar,” stringing together a torrent of distorted riffs in a style reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. The initial collaboration As Summer Into Autumn Slips took place next as Mathis and Jacob teammate Fred Jazz Odyssey Brian Haas emerged for a two-song guest spot. While JFJO and d’Elf had previously shared bills, Friday marked the first time Reed and Brian performed with the Boston-based collective.
Mathis played guitar and Haas was on Fender Rhodes for the Elf originals “Power Plant” and “Lalla Aisha In Jhaptal”. The fluid “Power Plant” dates back over five years, while “Lalla Aisha In Jhaptal” features on the band’s recently released studio album, we never know. Micro wrote the latter based on the traditional song “Hamdushi” and incorporated elements of Gnawa, House and North Indian Hundustani music. Mathis let it rip with dynamic solos in every song, as did Haas. Each musician brought their distinctive sounds to the Elf Club mix. Smiles were in abundance, a trend on display all night.
Rivard was back on bass for “Dream Wanderer” after Haas and Mathis left the stage. You can always count on Micro to build lineups of amazing musicians and Friday was no different. Mister Rourke tastefully added samples and scratches to the proceedings, while Benedetti provided a powerful, steady beat behind the kit. Club d’Elf usually has Dean Johnston on drums, but with The Dux busy on the Neighbor tour, Benedetti is one of the talented drummers that Micro recruited for the shows held while he was away. Tommy fits perfectly into the band’s sound without imitating Johnston.
The Elf Club looks back on the years 2006 Now I understand for “Vishnu Dub”, the penultimate song of their set. One of the highlights of the evening was the ensemble finale “Sand”. Not to be confused with the song Phish by Elf covered for JamBase’s cluster flies compilation, the original “Sand” saw the band descend into a hypnotic groove with solos from several members, including saxophonist Andrew Fogliano. The collective nailed the composed sections as Pugliese’s lights provided a visual wonderland to close the frame.
The Marco Benevento Trio reunited for their first set together since 2011 to cap off Friday’s festivities. Benevento had used Andrew Barr and Reed Mathis as their band for most of the period from 2007 to 2011, including the sessions that yielded the keyboardist’s first four solo studio albums. The three musicians couldn’t contain their excitement to play together again, sporting huge smiles that seemed to widen with each song that played.
Despite the long layoff, there was little rust shown by the original Marco Benevento Trio last night. The three-piece danced and weaved through Benevento classics such as “Atari,” “Bus Ride,” “The Real Morning Party” and “Are You The Favorite Person Of Anybody?” A memorable moment on a night full of them came with a “RISD” played on demand. Marco’s originals are so groovy and most of the House of Soundcheck Studios were in full force.
While the band mostly stuck to the originals, they served up a killer mix towards the end of their set. The Marco Benevento Trio performed their killer rendition of “Fearless” and worked Elton John’s “Bennie And The Jets” on the cover of Pink Floyd. The crowd did the heavy lifting singing the vocals over the instrumental medley. As previously reported, the trio offered their first performance of “At The Show” to end the night. “At The Show” appears on 2014 Fast, the first album recorded by Marco after Mathis and Barr “became famous”. Marco guided the audience, yelling “Hey!” which play a huge part in his first song to incorporate vocals.
Like summer in autumn continues tonight at Soundcheck Studios in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (Reed Mathis, Brian Haas, Jason Smart) headline with the OG trio’s first East Coast performance in over 15 years after sets of WOLF! with Scott Metzger and William Tyler. Limited tickets are still available at press time via SummerIntoAutumn.com.
Festival information and tickets