The Rescue Spreaders | 09.26.08 | Philly

Words & Images by: Jake Krolick

The Rescue Spreaders :: 09.26.08 :: The Trocadero :: Philadelphia, PA

The Rescue Spreaders :: 09.26 :: Philly
It's funny that marcobenevento.com lists The Rescue Spreaders show at the North Star Bar instead of at The Trocadero, like some insightful after thought. Luckily we were rescued from the tight quarters of the North Star Bar and placed into a venue more fitting in size for our numbers. Those that dragged their asses away from the less-than climatic swirl of political debates were laid out on a gurney and carried away by The Rescue Spreaders ambulance of nut-busting jazzy eruptions. After mixing it up at this year's Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Eric Krasno (Soulive, Lettuce) Marco Benevento and Joe Russo (The Duo, GRAB) with Skerik (Critters Buggin, Claypool's Frog Brigade, Garage a Trois) joined forces again to spread their sounds through Philadelphia.

There were a few hundred of us that really cared about this show. We held it in our hearts over the last month since it was announced at the Garage-a-Benevento show. All our growing excitement culminated in a two hour jam session which was less about structure and more about extensions of sound that were fed, watered and allowed to grow into a ripe bunch of 10-20 minute one-of-a-kind jams. After half an album's worth of Soul Coughing as warm-up music, The Rescue Spreaders began laying out some devious and dark explorations. Benevento and Russo were the pundits of the night. Benevento played instruments with a smooth, liquid approach, while Russo hit the drums with aggressive, biting strokes. Benevento flexed a new thick, distorted sound that leapt from a Farfisa organ connected to a bass amp and a Wurlitzer piano. His forward bash of the keys played out beautifully as he shook off Russo's attacks by bumping each thwack aside with his key-driven bass pocket.

Skerik sat back in a velvet compartment ready to save us all with each squawk and howl of his pedal-fed horns. At one point, Skerik took his mic off the sax and put it on Russo's snare, adding a smutty, fuzz-laden tone to the drum sound. The low, dirty fuzz snagged easy targets on the dance floor, scooping them up and knocking loose change out of their pockets. Skerik spit jaws-of-life tones from his sax that hydraulically ripped apart the music, allowing it to morph several times during each song/jam. Russo took full advantage of Skerik's generous cut and spread initiatives by ramming notes into the musical gash with reckless abandon. Their wild music cut apart the night, freeing people trapped by the veil of another work week full of taking it from "The Man." Skerik extricated victims left and right as he sent debris flying from his wild gnashing sonics. The wild, unruly jam included a tease of Radiohead's "Myxomatosis" before disintegrating into another jam.

Krasno & Skerik :: 09.26 :: Philly
Krasno lacked some presence, but when he decided to gingerly slide his guitar into the dialog he added some smoldering riffs constructed from bits of tattered blues scales and remnants of once great soul jams. I found Krasno's style to be the most traditional among the mix of avant-garde musicians. As the music dipped into odder territories, Krasno would let his guitar back away, but as he watched the bizarreness unfold his patient, funky side added tinges of inspiration. Krasno took a subtler approach, following Benevento's paced lead and devious smile. Krasno allowed the jam to bubble out in an emphasis of strummed quarter notes, and his satisfaction was revealed in his familiar array of eye-popping faces and head-back lethargic style.

Late in the show, Benevento mounted his keys to pound out a warning on a few of his sonic-tweaked toys. His fingers danced their daddy-long-legged race running from certain death during a chance encounter with a rolled-up newspaper. It was as close to sonic bliss as anyone gets in this world. Skerik pushed hard on the lows, Russo tapped out Morse code, Krasno laid back on rhythm and Benevento's fingers just banged out a nasty bit of The Duo's "Becky" and several "Vortex" teases. I'm not entirely convinced that Benevento is not part machine in the way he handles his toys.

On one hand it was obvious that these cats didn't prep for this show much, but on the other hand that's what made it so enjoyable. The true call of live music was epitomized in this one-off performance: the mechanical, device-like qualities of Benevento's magic fingers, the tinges of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" from Krasno's guitar, Russo and Skerik's lighting of fuses that blasted us into space. This was live music.

The Rescue Spreaders - 09.26.08 - Trocadero, Philadelphia

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