The Slip, our hometown heroes, returned to the friendly confines of Providence haunt Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel last Friday. The venue was teeming with energy of all ages as it played host to a pre-release party for Angels Come on Time, which is due out on Rykodisc early next month. Local guitarist Spogga, performing with his new band, opened the show as the crowd packed into Lupo's.

This was only the second show of the month for the vacationing troubadors of The Slip, and the energy of the band was on par with that of the crowd. You could just sense the excitement of the guys to play together after this "mini-hiatus". I love how this band always sets the mood at the beginning of the show. Acting as an opening meditation, they usually let atmosphere emanate from their instruments or start with a calming feedback or african percussion. This show started with carefully chosen notes by guitarist Brad Barr and segued into his relatively new ditty "Dear Milena" which impressively weaves in and out of three distinct guitar loops and closes with a spoken talking blues that sends chills down my spine every time. 'Milena' is yet another great song in the repertoire.

After a fairly long and danceable new tune, guitarist Barr let us know that this was a record release party, and CDs were finally available of the CD the band had been talking about making for two years, The Slip wasted no more time in showing off the heart of this mature record for the rest of the first set, with a triple play. The powerful vocal tune "Sometimes True to Nothing" had an outro jam that segued straight into a beautiful Marc (bassist) Friedman harmonic composition entitled "Sorry". The first set closed with an extended effort of Eastern electrotrippiness of "Fuji"; the crowd roared with appreciation as they closed out this esoteric jam.

The second set by The Slip started with Brad seated and playing his new twelve string guitar! I believe he only breaks out that beauty for what is now my favorite tune on the record, the song entitled "Love & Tears". A truly moving song, I find myself listening repeatedly to this number since I've gotten the Angels CD. It is almost Beatle-esque in that it's so catchy you just want to listen to it again and again, or maybe I just think that because he mentions John Lennon on the song. One of the first verses seems to tell of Brad's personal place in society,

"Let the singer be born,
from the fabric of our greater need,
and let the words anew
carry each other and build,
oh brother, I will
This song is not getting old any time soon, and tonight's spontaneous outro jam was super cool, segueing into a sort of quote of a Staples Singers refrain of "drop in the water," which just created one of those happy and danceable grooves I hoped would never end.

The next song was probably the night's best example of ability of The Slip to show their jazzy side, with a good twenty minutes of exploration, inspiration, and meditation during "A Witch in the Kitchen". Even after a month off, they can still read each other's minds! Telepathic geniuses, these three boys are. I would love to know the name of the new Marc song that followed. It's been played a few times recently, at U. Chicago and Creekside, this number is rhythmic and mathematical, kind of Frisell-esque, building slowly in the same way that Marc's intricate composition "Clementine" does.

With little time to reflect on the beauty of this bassist's song, they paid a gorgeous tribute to recently departed bassist John Entwhistle of The Who and launched into one of the most ambitious covers I have seen The Slip attempt. "Won't Get Fooled Again" was rock and roll at it's finest, complete with the Daltrey gutteral scream. Love to watch Andrew Barr get to let loose with the energy of a young Keith Moon. Is there any doubt as to what to do after a hiatus? "Pick up my guitar and play...just like yesterday...and then get on my knees and pray...." The Slip let it all hang out as they closed the set with the energy meter pushed to the max.

Really, nothing else was needed to seal a great night of music, so The Slip exceeded all expectations and did the elusive double encore! Masters of varying the mood and tempo, they slowed to a crawl with lyrical number "If One of Us Should Fall" that almost reminded me of Built to Spill. The first encore ended with classic Slip closers "Moral Decay" (or is this song called "Diablo"?) and the second encore was the always slippery "Johnny's Tune". For me, it's goodbye Providence, and hello west coast!

Can't wait to see the magic that The Slip will create at High Sierra, playing with "Friends" (Fareed??! J.Fred?!!) one night, with Sound Tribe Sector 9 one night, and on the main stage of the last day of my July 4th weekend! Love to all and good luck on tour with Vida Blue, Slipsters!

Prose and Photos By:
Sally Simpson
Travelling JamBase Goddess
Providence > California
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 6/30/02]

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