Words by Audra Tracy

From his home in Woodstock to the streets of the Bowery, New Yorkers have got all ears on piano rocker Marco Benevento. And with tunes from his new album TigerFace in tow, the music man with the nimblest of hands celebrated his record release party with a few hundred fans at the Bowery Ballroom on October 12th.

Onstage, a cuddly stuffed tiger head hung from the side of a speaker, and tonight it served as a beacon for all the party people getting ready to roar. Around 11PM, Benevento stepped up to his Franken-organ fitted with knobs, pedals, and various toys, and kicked off the set with the sweeping melodies of ‘Greenpoint’. ‘Diamond’ Dave Dreiwitz (bass) and Andrew Borger (drums) rounded out his trio, and little did we know, the guest list was about to grow. But before we get into all that, let’s talk about the wonders of TigerFace.


At the end of last year, Benevento released a limited-edition 7″ single for two brand new tracks ‘Fireworks’, and ‘Escape Horse’. Not only did they make the cut onto TigerFace, they’ve become proven road-tested monster jams – and on this night, the trio’s version of ‘Escape Horse’ was at its absolute heaviest. You could even venture to say that it’s becoming the ‘Bus Ride’ of 2012.

With TigerFace, the Benevento bubble has also expanded to include for the first time, vocals. And no, Marco isn’t a closet crooner who’s been holding out on us this whole time. Instead he recruited the lovely Kalmia Traver of Rubblebucket to help take TigerFace in a new direction, and New Yorkers were floored to find the songbird bounding on-stage mid-set for ‘This is How it Goes’.

By now the band was warmed up, the crowd was loose, and it was time to break out the Energizer bunnies of Benevento’s catalog, ‘The Real Morning Party’, and ‘Atari’. These two tracks off 2008’s Invisible Baby will never, ever get tired (even at this hour), and set the vibe for an inevitable Rubblebucket take-over.

Soon Traver returned to the stage, this time on sax, and with her boyfriend/bandleader Alex Toth manning a trumpet. Together Benevento’s new brood gave a makeover to ‘RISD’, turning a typically mild-mannered track into a total horn-dog. It was a quirky collision of New York indie rock, and a great sign of collaborations to come on their upcoming New Year’s run.

A set-closing cover of My Morning Jacket’s ‘Golden’ culminated once Benevento’s teases of Bob Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ found the audience gleefully howling ‘Everybody must get stoned!’. Nearing 2AM, the encore brought the gang all back together for Benevento’s latest single ‘Limbs of a Pine’ – because every true TigerFace needs one last dance party before bed.


TheWaster.com | RPF