Boston’s favorite band, The Slip recently saved the day for those of us looking for some good music on the east coast this New Year’s. After over 3 months on hiatus, the brothers Barr and bass-master Marc Friedman will once again take the stage close to home for two shows this holiday season.

I first saw the Slip early in ’99, when they played a dive bar in Albuquerque with Keller Williams on their first cross-country tour. Since then they have crossed the country many times, playing to larger crowds and gaining a dedicated following. Tone-master Brad Barr’s intricate guitar licks blend perfectly with his brother Andrew’s tastefully unconventional percussion work and Friedman’s funky bass. Each are masters of their instrument, and you can hear the years they have spent playing together in the instrumental improvisations that flow seamlessly at their live performances, with only a glance between them somehow communicating the information necessary to keep the groove in sync. When I found myself dancing well past the dawn at their High Sierra late night performance this summer, I knew I was hooked. The Slip constantly push the envelope of musical possibility, reaching new peaks every time I see them.

Their two show mini-tour begins Friday the 28th at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, with fellow Bostonians John Brown's Body opening the show with some rasta vibrations. I didn’t expect much from a Boston based reggae band, but these guys are remarkable - I highly recommend them if you like roots reggae.

After taking the rest of the weekend to recover, the band will host the Luminary Particle Ball at the one hundred year old Rhodes On-The-Pawtuxet in Cranston, R.I on New Year's Eve. Last year’s Slip NYE bash featured giant puppets, dancing robots, and guest appearances by members of ThaMuseMeant and Libby Kirkpatrick. Expect more special guests at both of these shows, and a lavish multi-sensory experience for NYE. Boston’s Fully Celebrated Orchestra will open on Monday, followed by 2 sets of The rested and ready Slip.

Marc tells me the band is eager to debut new material off of their forthcoming third album, due out this spring and recorded mostly while the band was snowed in for 7 days at Trey Anastasio’s barn outside of Burlington last February. "It was a beautiful space," said Friedman. "We felt lucky to be a part of such an inspiring place."

This album reportedly features more vocals than their previous two- about two-thirds of the songs feature lyrics. Brad studied with an Indian vocal trainer during the break and honed his skills. Marc also told me the band did more overdubbing and less improvisation than on previous albums, layering organic sounds in more intricate ways. Friend of the band Timo Shanko added saxophone to some tracks.

Now that their hibernation is over, the band will travel extensively this year. They will return to Japan in January with Drums and Tuba, returning to cross the U.S. in February for a tour that will carry them all across the country and probably to a town near you. Rumored shows include a return to Providence for a show with Bela Fleck in early spring and a Jazzfest appearance in April. Tickets to both of these shows are available at See for local ticket agencies and directions. Believe me, its worth the trip.

Greg Keidan
JamBase | Boston
Go See Live Slip!

[Published on: 12/21/01]

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