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.
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.