As Summer Into Autumn Slips – Night 1: Marco Benevento Trio, Club d’Elf & William Tyler
Benevento last performed with Reed Mathis and Andrew Barr in 2011.
As the clock struck midnight at Soundcheck Studios on Friday, Marco Benevento, Reed Mathis and Andrew Barr were having too much fun to let the first night of As The Summer Into Autumn Slips close at its scheduled end time. Instead, Marco taught his original trio his joyous song “At The Show” while on stage providing a euphoric finish to a memorable night in Pembroke, Massachusetts.
Presented by JamBase, As Summer Into Autumn Slips is a two-night live music experience at Soundcheck Studios that began last night. The Marco Benevento Trio — consisting of Marco on keys, bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Andrew Barr — headlined the five-hour concert with their first performance in over a decade after sets from William Tyler and Club d’Elf.
Soundcheck Studios is tucked away in a non-descript corporate park between Boston and Cape Cod. While the facility doesn’t look like much from the outside, Soundcheck is a top flight venue created by musicians for musicians and live music fans. And you can’t have Sound in the name of a facility without pristine acoustics. The owners’ intent to give attendees transcendent experiences won the room a nod in the Best Live Music Venue Of The Year (250+) category for the 2022 Boston Music Awards.
William Tyler was the first of three incredibly varied musical acts to take the Soundcheck Studios stage on Friday. Tyler showed off his expert instrumental guitar stylings over the course of an hour-long performance. Audience members watched in hushed silence as the Nashville native deftly worked through opener “Missionary Ridge” from 2010’s Behold The Spirit.
While Tyler’s songs may be instrumentals, they each featured distinctive melodies in which he made the guitar sing as the main “voice.” Tyler played acoustic for the first three tunes of his set. The final unplugged selection, “Alpine Star,” told the tale of a fictional town in the old west. A version appears on the 42-year-old musician’s most recent formal studio album, 2019’s Goes West. However, “Alpine Star” was stripped down to its basics at Soundcheck Studios as opposed to the full-band take featured on the LP.
The guitarist pulled out his Fender Telecaster for the last four songs of his set. A highlight was a breathtaking “Pisces Backroads” which he created sheets of sound using a looper and his instrument’s tremolo bar. Tyler then queried the crowd on whether he had enough time to play one or two more songs. The audience barked “two” in near unison but William warned, “They’re each 10 minutes.” No one was complaining as Tyler worked staple “We Can’t Go Home Again” into a breathtaking cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Attics Of My Life.” The former incorporated William’s tapping skills, while the latter was a reverent tribute to the Dead.
While Tyler noted his music wasn’t exactly the type to get people dancing on a Friday night, the second band of the evening provided a full-on 90-minute dance party. Club d’Elf delivered a seven-song performance at a venue they’ve played numerous times in the three years its been open. Those who’ve only seen the collective at home venue Lizard Lounge in Cambridge were in for a different d’Elf affair with the ensemble spread out on Soundcheck Studios’ large stage. LD Vin Pugliese provided a full-bore light show not too far removed from those found at much larger spaces.
A Club d’Elf lineup featuring bandleader Mike “Micro” Rivard (bass, sintar) along with guitarist Van Gordon Martin, saxophonist Andrew Fogliano, turntablist Mister Rourke and drummer Tommy Benedetti kicked off their portion of the evening with Gnawa song “Zeed Al Maal.” Micro was on sintar for the trancey groove and moved to bass for the “Instar” that followed.
Local guitar hero Van Gordon Martin shredded his first firey solo of the night on “Instar,” stringing together a torrent of distorted riffs in a style reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. The initial As Summer Into Autumn Slips collaboration took place next as Mathis and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey bandmate Brian Haas emerged for a two-song guest spot. While JFJO and d’Elf had shared bills before, Friday marked the first time Reed and Brian performed with the Boston-based collective.
Mathis played guitar and Haas was on Fender Rhodes for d’Elf originals “Power Plant” and “Lalla Aisha In Jhaptal.” The flowing “Power Plant” dates back over five years, while “Lalla Aisha In Jhaptal” is featured on the group’s recently released studio album, You Never Know. Micro wrote the latter based on traditional song “Hamdushi” and incorporated elements of gnawa, house and North Indian Hundustani music. Mathis let it rip with dynamic solos in each song as did Haas. Each musician brought their distinctive sounds to the Club d’Elf mix. Smiles were in abundance, a trend on display all night long.
Rivard was back on bass for “Dream Wanderer” after Haas and Mathis vacated the stage. You can always count on Micro to put together lineups of incredible musicians and Friday was no different. Mister Rourke tastefully added samples and scratches to the proceedings, while Benedetti provided a powerful and steady beat behind the kit. Club d’Elf typically has Dean Johnston on drums, but with The Dux busy on Neighbor tour Benedetti is one of the talented drummers Micro recruited for shows held during his absence. Tommy fit into the group’s sound perfectly without emulating Johnston.
Club d’Elf looked back to 2006’s Now I Understand for “Vishnu Dub,” the penultimate song of their set. A highlight of the night was the ensemble’s “Sand” finale. Not to be confused with the Phish song d'Elf covered for JamBase's Cluster Flies compilation, the original “Sand” saw the band hit upon a hypnotic groove with solos from multiple members including ace saxophonist Andrew Fogliano. The collective nailed the composed sections as Pugliese’s lights provided a visual wonderland to close the frame.
The Marco Benevento Trio reunited for their first set together since 2011 to cap Friday’s festivities. Benevento had used Andrew Barr and Reed Mathis as his band for the bulk of the period from 2007 and 2011, including the sessions that yielded the keyboardist’s first four solo studio albums. The three musicians couldn’t contain their excitement to play together again by sporting huge smiles that seemed to widen with each passing song.
Despite the long layoff there was little rust shown by the original Marco Benevento Trio last night. The three-piece bobbed and weaved through such Benevento classics as “Atari,” “Bus Ride,” “The Real Morning Party” and “Are You The Favorite Person Of Anybody?” A memorable moment on a night filled with them came with a “RISD” played by request. Marco’s originals are so groovy and most in the house at Soundcheck Studios were getting down in full force.
While the group stuck mainly to originals, they did serve up a killer medley towards the end of their set. The Marco Benevento Trio performed their killer interpretation of “Fearless” and worked “Bennie And The Jets” by Elton John within the Pink Floyd cover. The crowd did the heavy lifting of singing the vocals on the instrumental medley. As noted earlier, the three-piece offered their debut performance of “At The Show” to end the night. “At The Show” appears on 2014’s Swift, the first album Marco recorded after Mathis and Barr “went off to be famous.” Marco guided the audience in providing the joyous yells of “Hey!” that play a huge role in his first song to incorporate vocals.
As Summer Into Autumn continues tonight at Soundcheck Studios in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (Reed Mathis, Brian Haas, Jason Smart) top the bill with the OG trio’s first East Coast performance in over 15 years after sets from WOLF! featuring Scott Metzger and William Tyler. Limited tickets are still available as of press time via SummerIntoAutumn.com.