Seemingly more comfortable in the shadows off on the opposite side of the stage stood Mathis. His long, red hair covered his face in an even deeper silhouette, yet as usual his confident bass lines set him aglow. He knows exactly when to step out and pave a path through the music and exactly when to set the foundation upon which the world can flourish. The deep growl of his bass pulsated through the floorboards and straight up my spine, creating a direct lifeline to the stage.
Smiling from behind his drum kit, meanwhile, Barr connected all the parts and drove the story line. His energetic style infused the music with a welcomed vibrancy that kept listeners moving, though not quite fully dancing because of the poly-rhythmic beats and constantly fluctuating rhythms. I was thrown for a loop — in a really good way — when he started adding echo and other electronic effects to his playing. It really pushed the music’s already outstretched boundaries.
While each musician stands out in his own right, what most impressed me was their ability to weave layers of sound so seamlessly. This band truly has an impeccable talent for improvisation. And at the same time, they are able to pull it all back together without even the slightest of hiccups. Brilliant, really.
The show commemorated the trio’s Between the Needles & Nightfall, an impressive new 11-track recording that has me pressing repeat each time it plays through to the end. The concert showcased several of the album tracks, including the opening Greenpoint, Between The Needles and Two of You during the first set plus RISD, It Came From You, Snow Lake and the album’s only cover, You Know I’m No Good, in the second set. The Slip’s Marc Friedman sat in on bass during the encore Mephisto. If only I could have pressed repeat for this show, I would have in an instant!
- Previously on HT: Marco Benevento – Music Is Still Secret