The crowded upstairs space in the miniature Mission haunt Elbo Room was teeming with leftover energy from the huge festival weekend. The Slip had no trouble packing the place, as they've done in half a dozen venues of various size around town in the past few years. This special show, billed as An Intimate Evening With The Slip, felt like our very own encore performance of the very last thing we saw at the High Sierra Music Festival, making the magic of HSMF last at least one more night. Many concertgoers gave each other the "didn't I last see you at a Slip show this past Monday morning at 3am?" nod as they loosened up with a Tuesday night cocktail and recapped their own personal festival highlights. Alan Schneider, manager of Tea Leaf Green (who played to a thousand people outdoors at the Showcase Stage) said, "We gotta get through this year quick, we just can't wait to get back to High Sierra!"
The Slip warmed up with a few of their jazzy instrumentals to get the crowd moving. After a brotherly tale of the Jersey mariachi in "Hey Worrier," Jeff Coffin, the saxophonist for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones joined The Slip for an incredibly tight version of their 'out' jazz tune "Yellow Medicine." Coffin really added something with crisp sax runs during the song's structure, and took off in flight during his solo on this rhythmically intense tune. He stuck around and contributed his positive energy with another burning solo during The Slip's take on the Thelonius' classic "Rhythm-a-ning." Coffin heard the familiar Monk melody, and instantly added a layer to the music. An incredible saxophonist, his style is so easygoing and smooth, he really makes it look effortless.
The second set opened with a rare "Air of the Body" - a tremendously underplayed original tune, and one which really got the crowd moving. Next, we were treated to another siamese drumming demonstration in which Andrew's friend Zach Velmer, the cyborg drum machine layer of the Sector 9-layered cake, delighted the audience by sitting in for the majority of the second set.
Zach Velmer and Andrew Barr together on one stage is a dream come true for many. It was incredible at High Sierra to see the two of them on one kit but on this tiny stage they each had their own kit. Two of the most talented young drummers in the scene came together to form an intricate rhythm section. As they drummed together through the melodic trance of "A Logical Path," Brad dropped the guitar in favor of a cowbell and we had a twenty minute drum-and-bass clinic, with Zach and Andrew pushing each other to their limits, playing off Marc's bass lines and effects. Both drummers give us the beat that lives within themselves with relative ease.
Zach and Coffin remained on stage for another few tunes, and were joined by Rob Ewing (a trombonist from an ancient incarnation of the Miracle Orchestra). Slipping Horns, what a concept! A rousing rendition of Moral Decay closed the night out on a high note, as Marc Friedman's signature Moral bass line rang through the ears of these High Sierra dreamers.
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