The Slip | Rocks Off Boat Cruise | New York, NY | 7.17.03

The air was calm and the river swells were challenging sea legs of the 200 or so land lovers aboard The Slip Ship as it pulled out of port to the rhythms of Fela Anikulapo Kuti at 23rd Street on the East River, leaving some 25 sorry faces on the dock waving bon voyage. As the boat took off the tenacious trio of transcendence, nestled into the starboard corner of the ship's top deck, rocked a three-hour insightful tour around maniacal Manhattan Island in jaw-dropping, intensifying style opening up the vaults of days past, and giving love to New York City as all The Slip boys and all the beautiful Slip girls danced the night away on the existential sea-faring vessel.

Fresh in a FDNY cap, Brad Barr got things moving right away as the band ripped into "Sea Legs," a tune the band has not played in about four years and quite the apropos opener. Brother drummer Andrew Barr took off on a breakbeat frenzy, laying down that custom organic 808 drum machine feel as only he can with Marc Friedman's low-end making the boat feel as if it was being torpedoed. A bit of a Steely Dan vibe followed as the band settled into the Becker/Fagen original "Brooklyn" which was yet another perfect choice from the vaults holding a special place in the heart of the Steely fans aboard who received it with raucous appreciation.

By the time the ship reached the South Street Seaport, the boat was rocking in both respects as right hand man Tim Lindy was keeping mics from falling over as Brad and Marc turned to face the crowds on the pier like true arena rock stars. The super stankin' funk of "Spice Groove" took over the dance floor as Brad got to teasing a bit of Mary J Blige ("Let's Get it Percolatin'") until brother Andrew took over once again, audibly disguised as a 30-member drum troupe beating in unparalleled tribal fury. Always smooth and sly in their ways, the boys kicked back into the blues and a third wonderfully themed number, "Proud Mary" done Tina-style with the audience handling the chorus.

As the boat approached Lady Liberty, Brad picked up the electric sitar for the big rock grooves of "Mudslide" as he and Marc took turns trading some fancy licks, opening things up for some nasty beatbox work from brother Andrew who could get into it with Rahzel any day. Brad joined in the fun laying down "Don't Stop the Beat" in Herbie-esque robotic vocal fashion over the band's hard rhythms. Things began to get heated and Brad broke out the kazoo, matching the notes on his sitar during his solo and then leading the band back to the head with rave reviews. Taking things down for a moment, Brad dedicated a heartfelt "If One of Us Should Fall" to the City of New York as the ship began is return trip. The river journey was half over but the fun was not done.

Marc Friedman laid down a classic solo during Herbie Hancock's "Drifting," taking a look back at the roots of The Slip's jazz and setting the stage for the rock to be brought once again. Brad opened delicately and then set if off, ripping into the power chords of "Rhythm and Gold" and getting the deck shaking once again. Marc kept getting dirtier and dirtier, driving the open section and making one crazed Slip girl call out "Marc Friedman, I want to have your baby!!!" He's a lucky guy.

For the last choice of the evening, the band amazed once again with the doo-wop classic "Candy Girl" (if you don't know this one, check out your local oldies Saturday night dance party). Andrew spiced it up with some hot drum breaks leading into teases of the favorite "Sorry," pleasing the loud Italian kid who had been requesting it all night long. Taking it out to its limits, the band fell back into a sped up "Sorry" as Brad was pickin' like Nashville. They finished to a deafening applause from the evening's mariners who all knew they had been treated to something very special aboard this tiny ship.

With the night of aquatic action coming to an end, The Slip Ship pulled back into port amid talk of the condition of Addison Groove Project bassist John Hall who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. The thoughts and prayers of everyone are with John whose strength and positivity will surely get him through his difficult times ahead. You can all contact him at and maybe even send him some stuff if you'd like. I know he loves presents, who doesn't?

As they are becoming more and more of an intrepid force, The Slip's music pronounces the blurring of categorical lines and continually proves that they are the ones who will make it as a band for all the right reasons. With another album coming out soon and the touring machine due to hit the West Coast in late August and on through September, the boys are bringing it to you, so you be sure to give it back.

Words by: Robert Krevolin
Images by: Phrazz
JamBase | NYC
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[Published on: 7/21/03]

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