Benevento/Russo Duo @ Martyr’s, Chicago 9/7/08

The Duo are one of those bands. They sing barely a sound during their entire set, but they converse with each other through casual banter with the audience. They drink Maker’s Mark convincingly. They turn cartoons themes into anthems. They are addictive. This only my third time seeing the two Italians, Andrew said it was near his tenth. All glory aside, there wasn’t a huge crowd at the north side venue. Even still, everyone who was there stayed past midnight on a Sunday, which Benevento acknowledged right before he told everyone where to stash the drugs (under his van’s left tire). It was a perfect way to cap off a long and strange weekend in Chicago.

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The Benevento/Russo Duo are very casual and very childish at some times, but every giggle or inside joke they throw around is balanced with careful craftsmenship. “Joe Russo plays the drums better with his one hand than most can play with both,” Andrew said to me at one point. I have to agree, the man has some damn fine chops. But what really impressed me is his ability to harness Marco Benevento’s raw ability as an experimental noise maker. That is not to say that Benevento is less talented than Russo, but their timing leaves a definite impression.

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I caught myself taking stock of Benevento’s rig once or twice and aside from the notorious Werletzer, he has some interesting and unique equipment. I saw a light box, a kid-toy-effects controller, and multiple toy keyboards all wired into some sort of noise making heaven. It weirds out until it all sounds crunchy and distorted. Some times its sounds exactly like a guitar, and I know that modern techonology can make my laptop sound like a Les Paul, but they fuse so many sounds its overwhelming. If anyone has specifics on the rig, drop us some knowledge in the comments. You can check out Andrew’s pictures for some reminders in case you were indulging a bit too much on the Lord’s day.

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Other than the obvious Duo observations, they have a new video artist touring with them. He creates the typical trippy effects like brain waves and Pop Art collage, but he edits on stage with the band, so it takes on another level often missed with pre-programmed acts. Plus he stage dived during the last song and it was pretty fun to see the sparse audience helping the band enjoy their stay in Chicago. There are some videos available, starting here. The highlight had to be “Becky,” though, especially with the added Showbiz-turned-Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Band collage in the background.

Almost as good as this video:

Showbiz Pizza Band [YouTube]

Interestingly, the guy who originally made the productions for Showbiz has a YouTube channel that you should check out just for the sake of my childhood memories.

Set list via the Duo’s fansite, organanddrums.net
Something for Rockets
New Song (“Milwaukee”)
Soba
Echo Park
Memphis
Becky
BRTBTS
9×9>PPS
Sunny’s
Welcome Red
Blood not Sap

Andrew got some great shots with his new camera and they are over on LMB’s Flickr page.

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  • Rafael

    Marco’s setup is tricky, but all at once simpler than it seems. His Hammond B-3 is sent to a leslie speaker after several effects, and the lows are sent to a bass amp(usually a backline Ampeg), the Wurlitzer goes into a guitar amp(usually a backline Fender, or a sweet little tube amp), after going through several guitar pedals. The toys are actually wired with several sound modifiers or “circuit bent” by this guy Tommy, who frequents the Duo board now and then. The pedalboard he has is a part of the B3, and allows his to play the lower 2 octaves with his feet. Hope that helps! Thanks for the review!!

  • Rafael

    Marco’s setup is tricky, but all at once simpler than it seems. His Hammond B-3 is sent to a leslie speaker after several effects, and the lows are sent to a bass amp(usually a backline Ampeg), the Wurlitzer goes into a guitar amp(usually a backline Fender, or a sweet little tube amp), after going through several guitar pedals. The toys are actually wired with several sound modifiers or “circuit bent” by this guy Tommy, who frequents the Duo board now and then. The pedalboard he has is a part of the B3, and allows his to play the lower 2 octaves with his feet. Hope that helps! Thanks for the review!!

  • mitch

    good info, rafael. thanks.

  • mitch

    good info, rafael. thanks.

  • http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/ Leilani

    Saw the last 30 minutes of their set this past Friday in ATL. And it was 30 minutes of total greatness. I LOVE THESE GUYS. They always put on a killer show.

  • http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/ Leilani

    Saw the last 30 minutes of their set this past Friday in ATL. And it was 30 minutes of total greatness. I LOVE THESE GUYS. They always put on a killer show.