Marco Benevento on tour and in our city.
“Hot Dance Piano Rock”, that’s the music of Marco Benevento, at least that is the description he has come up with for his sound. Honestly, though, it seems accurate. Seemingly never not recording or performing, Marco Benevento has developed quite the musical catalog and continues to innovate a sound that is uniquely his but romantically familiar.
Wrapping up a run of dates before a nice little break, we were able to catch Marco and crew as they made a stop in at The Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte, NC.
Touring this run with Nashville based musician Ian Ferguson the night began with a solo set from Ian that set a more observant tone as nothing more than voice and guitar commanded the stage as the crowd began to settle in and grow. Commenting a bit on the difference between his presentation of solo songs compared to the “party” that was to follow once Marco and crew took the stage, Ian told the crowd of an earlier date in New Orleans where the raucous crowd was ready to “get the party started” and were simply not feeling his more stripped back and relaxing sound. Charlotte, however, was a bit more receptive to his music and his voice, and while the crowd itself was still finding their way in, Ian’s set was a great way to warm up the evening.
Ian’s promise of the fun to come was immediately on display from the moment Marco and band took the stage with smiles from ear to ear and shirts that read “We’re using our time for fun”.
Opening the evening with the song “Limbs of a Pine” from his 2012 album Tigerface the groove was immediately set. With a familiar stage lineup of Marco on keys, Dave Butler on drums, and Karina Rykman on bass, the groove established immediately was one that could not be denied.
The clarity available from just three members on stage allows for the audience to really zone out on the total sound and effortlessly zone in on each band member allowing them to showcase their skills. This continued throughout the set as in conjunction with attention to detail in lighting, a full-force sensory experience was delivered that forced movement in the crowd as dance erupted and smiles spread from the stage to the audience.
The stage show that Marco has crafted throughout the years is one that showcases his proficiencies as a pianist and musician but also as a performer, allowing his music which has one presence on the album to evolve and take a slightly different air when presented live and person.
This, of course, is one of the many things that we as fans can appreciate in any artist which we enjoy and I believe is more often than not associated with an authenticity that is part of any great musician’s presence. Marco has time and again demonstrated his “chops” but what helps his stage show stand out is the ability to simply have fun.
This date, while near the end of a tour run finds Marco and crew on a slight break before heading back out on the road for another stretch starting in February. If you really like to enjoy yourself at live shows, I cannot encourage you enough to look for a stop on this next run near you.