Marco Benevento is, definitely, one of the funnest concerts to attend. Blending imagination with good music may seem like a given for a concert, but Benevento goes the extra-mile to assure that such a union occurs in his audience. With his Mad-Hatter wardrobe, trustee piano, and friends/bandmates at hand, he transformed Brooklyn Bowl into a 1950’s hop.
There is no denying that Benevento aims for the strange or, at least, the spontaneous. His arrangements are vast and fruitful like a winding road coursing down Alice And Wonderland and made with bricks of rainbow coloring. I want to say that his music is bright, but it is not that it lights up in sound as much as it lights up in spirit. His ability to slide through genres and arrangements intoxicates the audience, whom by the second song, give up on following Benevento’s genius/insanity and decide to give into it. There is no following where Benevento will go musically, which makes his show exciting, but he does manage to find a balance beam in giving an old-world sense to his music fantasies. He uses simple repetitive lyrics like acid being dropped into a glass of water; completely meant to infuse with sonics and bring about a psychedelic trip. Yet, this trip is not to a place as much as to a time.
There are several instances where you can hear the 1950’s/1960’s jazz era nosedive into his arrangements like an Olympic swimmer. Benevento focuses on his sound more than his words, because, frankly, the beat speaks louder to both him and the audience. He has modernized a style of dance and rhythm that has been seen as too innocent for this age. Yet, as people swung their hips and clapped their hands, a new love for the jukebox era was born. Audience members were reminded of the physical freedom that jazz/ rock inspired in people, and how dancing was not as much sexual as it was partnering. Back in said times, the sensuality of dance came subtly in the enjoyment of the music and liking of your companion. Such a mindset was heightened by Benevento’s vocals that share the rasp and dynamism of singers like, Jerry Lee Lewis, who sung their notes as if a fire was breaking out in their throats and readying to blaze the stage like a dragon.