Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence was absolutely packed last night with The Slip opening up for Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade. The Slip played a solid set to the largest and rowdiest crowd they have ever seen in their hometown. Crowd surfing is not the usual mode of getting from here to there during a Slip show, but it was being practiced last night. The Slip opened with the Guinean tribal mesmerizer, "Wolof," Andrew tattooing the skins as Marc held down the bottom and Brad filled the middle with edgy goodness. The synergy between band and crowd for this tune is always amazing, setting things up for a high tempo rager (rather than those quiet beauties we sometimes get). They followed it up with the funnily named Yo Yo Ma Little Brown-eyed Babushka, another tune with an appealing cadence, Russian flavored but with Slippery twists. "Hey Worrier" was the lone vocal tune tonight, and the lone tune from the night available on their last album, Does. It was definitely a crowd favorite. They then invited Skerik (Critters Buggin, Mike Clark's Prescription Renewal) to sit in for "Don't Foil the Mohel" and he became Mt. Blasta, taking this old standby of Marc Friedman's (The Slip's bassist) in new directions. There was also some great jazz improvisation between himself and Andrew Barr (drums). It definitely left me looking forward to the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival, where Skerik and The Slip will both be a week from Saturday. Other highlights from the set included a beautiuful "Hoc No Seh." An energetic "Dogs On Bikes" finished off the set, Brad Barr (guitarist) changing speeds on a whim, Andrew Barr and Marc Friedman not missing a beat. They genuinely love playing this one and transmit that audibly to the crowd. Brad was reluctant to leave the stage, having headlined here so many times before, but he would be back later for an encore, albeit in a supporting role.

Les Claypool and his Flying Frog Brigade came out with as much energy as ever. Les was sporting his trademark camo bush hat and jacket, and adding a primo plastic witch schnozz for good measure. Skerik had his purple sequined coat on, while Eenor's dreads were in better shape than in Pittsburgh, where he had a real bad hair day... all in all not a band easily upstaged. Les was thumping the hard bass lines and always bringing an element of hilarity to his shows. They played a fun, solid set, including covers of King Crimson's "Thela Hun Ginjeet," David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and Pink Floyd's "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond," allowing Skerik to stretch out and do what he does best, be a saxfreak! The definite highlight of the show was when the three of The Slip joined Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade for "Tomorrow Never Knows" as an encore. It featured Brad Barr on electric sitar, Andrew Barr on various percussion and Marc Freidman with his classic white fretless Fender bass. Marc Friedman and Les Claypool went toe to toe for a bit, leaving me grinning, but not sure how John Lennon would have felt... Brad Barr laid down some sweet licks but got toasted by Eenor, who strapped on a Boschian banjo and made some serious noises that Fripp would have been proud of. Skerik looped a nice low end fugue and they left the stage to an uproar. All in all, it was an incredible show for a extrememly diverse crowd.

Jim Crichton
Slip Fan Extraordinaire
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 7/31/01]

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