Words by Audra Tracy
Celebrating their only New York City appearance for 2010 at the Highline Ballroom, our beloved Duo introduced new material as well as remixes of ‘Sunny’s Song’, ‘Becky’, and ‘Walking, Running, Viking’.
What started as two dudes jamming out on Radiohead and Zeppelin covers in the basement of the old Knitting Factory has catapulted Marco Benevento (organ, circuit bent toys) and Joe Russo (drums, percussion) into steady gigs with members of Phish, The Dead, Ween, and Galactic, to name a few. And since they seem to have their pick of musical paths these days, the NYC crowd was pleased that on this night, they chose the Duo proper.
“Joe and I are still very much in love”, Marco assured his audience, “and the whole gay experimentation thing is true”, he joked. The Highline perpetuated that romantic feeling with a set up resembling that of a classy speakeasy, with friends, family and fans seated at candle-lit tables that covered the dance floor. While ‘Duo electric’ is always thrilling, ‘Duo acoustic’ gave the pair enough space to explore beyond the recorded note and into alien territory.
‘Awards’ came early in the set, which marked the Duo’s newest material since 2006’s Play Pause Stop. A ‘Scratchitti’ teaser snuck its way into a cover of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Blues for Allah’ before ‘Best Reason to Buy the Sun’ saw the band at the height of rock glory. ‘Play Pause Stop’ had the faithful chanting along to its chorus in booze-fueled harmony before the Duo closed out the show with a Hendrix cover (‘One Rainy Wish’) and an extended freak-out version of perhaps their best known song, ‘Becky’.
Marco and Joe share an onstage chemistry that is unparalleled, and it was a relief to see that after all these years, the magic is still there. Welcome back, boys!
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