Marco Benevento keeps the surprises coming in SF

Marco BeneventoPhotos by Sam Heller // Written by Anthony Presti //

Marco Benevento //
The Independent – San Francisco
March 14th, 2015 //

Marco Benevento took over The Independent and turned it into a dance party on a lively Saturday night. Lying somewhere between jam rock and fusion/experimental jazz, the Marco B band didn’t fail to impress, especially with bassist Dave Dreiwitz (Ween) and drummer Andrew Borger on board. They’ve been Benevento’s touring band for the past three-plus years, and their chemistry hasn’t been better.

Hailing from New York, Benevento has been playing for well over a decade. His sound relies on experimentation with vintage piano instruments like the Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano and the Optigan (an optical organ from the 1970’s) while mixing in new age samplers and computer effects. What it creates is energetic rhythmic waves of sound that are overlapped by the impressive jazz compositions of Benevento. It’s easy to create a sample and jam to it, but these musicians are well accomplished at their craft, and Benevento creates every sample live instead of just logging them into a sample bank.

Marco Benevento

For those unfamiliar with Benevento’s sound or live shows, he’s not just some pretentious jazz aficionado. His sound is actually pretty modern, with some tunes sharing a familiar structure with bands like Matt and Kim. He writes catchy hooks, sometimes featuring a chorus with singing over single-note melodies. His live shows are always engaging and usually full of surprises. I’ve seen him a couple times, once joined by Killer Mike to play “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin’ Ta Fuck Wit” and another time sporting a giant tiger mascot head. This time around, he pulled up a girl from the crowd to play “RISD” with him, battling back and forth on his signature organ.

Benevento played until about 1 a.m. mainly supporting his latest album Swift. Some of the crowd-pleasers were “At the Show” and the melancholy indie tune “Eye to Eye” from his newest record, the infectious dance tune “Limbs of a Pine” and “Fireworks” from 2012’s TigerFace, “RISD” and the jazzy “Wolf Trap” from 2010’s Between the Needles and Nightfall, “Heartbeats” from 2009’s Me Not Me, the dramatic tune “Bus Ride,” “Atari” and “You Must be a Lion” from 2008’s Invisible Baby.

Marco Benevento #3

Marco Benevento

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