Photos / Words by Matthew Hebert
Marco Benevento and Matt Butler arrived at The Blockley on the eve of the hippy pseudo-holiday with a star studded cast in tow. Marco Benevento got the intimate 700 capacity crowd moving with his unique brand melodic piano rock. In addition to being an adept songwriter and pianist, Marco is an on-stage power house. I’m always surprised and impressed how a guy who looks like he just rolled out of bed moments prior to taking the stage and plays a set sitting behind an upright piano can command and audience the way he does. But Marco always has the audience captivated and Friday’s set was no different, the crowd was all in from the start; dancing to infectiously danceable tracks like ‘Limbs of a Pine’ and singing along to crowd favorites. Of course, the Tiger Face made an appearance and was donned by both of Marco’s bandmates Dave Dreiwitz and Andy Borger to the delight of the crowd. With the Everyone Orchestra in attendance, it was only a matter of time before we saw some collaboration which came in the form of Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket) and Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) taking the stage with Marco.
And that was just the start of the evening. After some stage reconfiguration, Matt Butler and his Everyone Orchestra packed the stage, and what a powerhouse incarnation it was: featuring Steve Kimock, Al Schnier (moe.) on guitar, Vinnie Amico (moe.) on drums, Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket) on vocals/sax, Alex Toth (Rubblebucket) on trumpet, Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) on bass and Trevor Garrod (Tea Leaf Green) on keys and of course Marco Benevento made an appearance mid-way through the set. For those uninitiated, the Everyone Orchestra is an improvisational music project consisting of various cast members and led by Matt Butler who conducts the flow and mood of the musicians and crowd through whiteboard notes, hand gestures, and I have to assume telepathy. Just like any great conductor / master of ceremonies, Matt Butler skillfully maneuvered his musical creations throughout the evening. Writing notes like ‘Rock in E’ or ‘Follow Al!’ was all the direction the band needed to drop into some impressive improvisational grooves. The audience always gets involved as well, taking cues from Matt to yell ‘YES!’ or sing along. The party went essentially all night with the closing notes ending around 3:30am. With the breadth of talent on stage throughout the night and the fact that the show was nearly 6 hours of music, I’d have to assume that those lucky enough to be in attendance were quite pleased with what they had just witnessed. I know I was! Check out some photos from the evening: