The Slip’s sold out set at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club proved that their new sound, is far more accessible than the Slip sound of old.
The trio started out the night with two in-development songs that failed to garner the crowd response they were looking for. But as soon as they tore into their fluke Playstation hit, “Even Rats” the vibe in the crowd picked up. The group consistently brought their songs into the same zone of abstract improv that people have come to know and love. The difference in this night’s performance was that they managed to improvise within the framework of structured, vocally oriented songs.
The Slip’s switch from loose jazzed-out odysseys towards verse/chorus/verse-oriented songwriting has played a big part in their recent break into the mainstream. This same progression is what has led many critics in the blogosphere to obsess over the aspect that they have gone from the “Jam-scene” to the “Indie scene.” Neither label is very accurate, and this was clearest as the group tore into “Children of December,” the opener off their new album, Eisenhower. As the song progressed, they demonstrated that labels aside, the Slip is a band with a strong instrumental prowess that is easily matched by their ability to harness catchy melodies. The former was demonstrated as the group’s front man, Brad Bard, rocked out atop the PA monitors at the close of the song.
As the night progressed, the weak degree of energy that had been dispensed from the stage gradually snowballed into an intensely driven performance that was more along the lines of what was initially expected.
When the Slip closed out their encore with an extended version of “Airplanes/Primitive,” featuring an impressive blues harp solo from Brad, things seemed as though the party just couldn’t stop. Yet all good things come to an end.