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Marco Benevento at Parima | April 2011

Photography by Bear Cieri

As Parima Thai Restaurant’s reputation for music events grew, they added a stage, a better sound system, and have booked a great line-up for this spring. Now they rival other music spots in Burlington as the place to catch a unique performance.

This increased level of quality was orchestrated by both Daryl Campney and Joe Adler, who put together Burgundy Thursdays, a weekly event held in the Acoustic Lounge, although on February 17th the show is moved to the main dining room, as Marco Benevento graces the stage.

Marco is most known for the Benevento/Russo duo that festival-hopped and played to the serious jam band crowd for almost a decade. Lately, however, Marco’s been playing on a solo tour behind his new album, Between the Needles and Nightfall. He’d played Parima before, and as he and Joe are good friends, the booking came easily.

“He shot me a text,” Joe tells me plainly.

Joe opens the night with his family-band style performance. Members of Japhy Ryder join him, including Zack DuPont on guitar, Patrick Ormiston on bass, and drummer Matt Deluca. Also, Samara Lark and Greg Alexander sing backup, Greg taking on the melodica now and again. Matt Harpster plays acoustic guitar. Erick Segalstat stands candidly in the back with his mandolin, and Aya Inoue plays guitar and sings.

Aya is the secret weapon. While it’s Joe’s band technically, Aya sings lead parts and adds glamour as a backing vocalist. A night of covers, their version of Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee” steals the show. Joe does the lyrics justice, and Aya’s backup is hauntingly beautiful.

Their line-up is excessive in a Bruce Springsteen sort of way, as in, why not have a stage full of musicians, even if it means four guitars playing the same chords? Joe sings with heart and soul, playing the sort of Americana and folk that he loves.

“We only had two practices,” Samara tells me after the show. “Zack, Patrick, and Jason knew the songs already.”

Patrick adds, “Joe hand picked us, and I said I’d play if I could bring a drummer. It wouldn’t have worked without a drummer, but Joe resisted at first.” In Joe’s defense, he enjoys a mellow mood, especially for Burgundy Thursdays, and this was no rock n’ roll spectacle.

The mass of instruments works, however. Nothing is out of control. Covering songs for their layered instruments works, and overall it’s a pleasant surprise for the audience, intimate but to capacity, (ticket sales were limited to sixty), except for the birthday party happening on the balcony, which can be heard singing just as the band finishes playing. Joe joins in with the birthday chorus, a grin spreading across his face.

Marco’s piano is from the 1920’s, and sits open-faced in the middle of the stage, a strange fake lion head is draped over the right side of it. Across the back, behind and above the keys, effects pedals are lined up. Around the piano’s inner frame, where the hammers can be seen, a string of lights changes colors periodically. On top of the piano are a synth and a laptop.




 

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