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Grand Slambovians ~ 2013 October 4 ~ Towne Crier Cafe ~ Beacon, NY

... by Joanne Corsano ...

The Grand Slambovians
Joziah, Eric and Sharkey
Click on the picture
to see a photo gallery of the concert

Band Personnel: Joziah Longo, lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica; Sharkey McEwen, lead guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, lead vocal (on one song); Eric Puente, drums; Tink Lloyd, accordion, cello, tambourine, cowbell, backing vocals; Michael Polito, electric bass (on three songs); Sean Gallagher, uilleann pipes (on one song) ... also known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

Set List

Grand Slambovians - Pushing Up Daisies - Very Unusual Head - medley: Very Happy Now / Epistle to Dippy {Donovan} / I Wanna Be Sedated {Ramones} - Suzanne {Leonard Cohen} - Lost Highway {with Mike Polito on bass} - Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express {with Mike} ... intermission ... Northern Sea - Great Unravel {with Mike} - Tink (I Know It's You) {with Sean Gallagher on uilleann pipes} - Box of Everything - Talkin' to the Buddha - Alice In Space ... encore ... The Invisible

Scroll down past the videos for review; photo gallery to the right.


"Grand Slambovians":

"Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express" (with Mike Polito)

"The Great Unravel" (with Mike Polito)

"Tink (I Know It's You)" (with Sean Gallagher on uilleann pipes)


On June 9, 2013, the Towne Crier Cafe closed its former location in Pawling, NY, and the Grand Slambovians played that show. So it was only fitting that the Circus should also be the first headliner in the Towne Crier's new location in Beacon, NY.

The old Towne Crier was in a strip mall on a secondary highway in the middle of nowhere, with faux Southwest decor, seating for maybe 150 people (at a guess), good food, an attentive staff and an owner who fiercely loves his music. The owner, good food and attentive staff have made the move to the new location, but much else has changed, and for the better. The new location is on a main street in a hip folkie town, with a good sized parking lot out back. The club is bigger, newer, cleaner, with fantastic sound, and with wonderful decor. The new venue seats over 200, with a huge stage standing about two feet above the floor; plenty of room both in the seating area and on the stage for both audience and performers. The servers must appreciate having space to move between the tables. A few rows of tables back, a couple of steps lead to a raised area in the back, helping concert goers in the back to see. It's a well designed performance space.

The Slambovians didn't hold back in their joy to be part of this celebration. Bass player Michael Polito, who has sat in with the band on several occasions during the last six or eight months, performed on three songs, playing a splendid electric bass guitar that was hand-painted by Earl Slick (David Bowie's guitarist). His bass playing added a welcome richness to those three songs. There are videos of two of them, above.

The band featured uilleann pipes on "Tink (I Know It's You)," played by uilleann pipe master Sean Gallagher, who also played on the studio recording of the song. This is an instrument in the bagpipe family, but the player uses his elbow to work the bellows. It had a wonderfully Celtic sound to it and created a mystical sound and feeling. One of the videos, above, is of this song.

When they played "Very Happy Now," which Joziah often describes as a "cross between Donovan and The Ramones," they made a medley of the song with its original influences, Donovan's "Epistle to Dippy," and The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." Sharkey sang the Ramones part, and for ninety seconds I thought I had been transported through time to CBGB during the height of the punk era. He was so good that at one point in the show Joziah said that if he ever had to quit music, he'd go see Sharkey's band.

The extra musical additions made this show extra special for the sold out, and very enthusiastic audience. Whether the concert goers were fans of the Circus, or fans of the Towne Crier, or both, they had a great time. There were even fans from England in attendance (Ian and Sue). The only thing missing was that there did not seem to be any parasols being used during "Alice In Space," and I hope that custom is not dying since it is so much fun.

The Towne Crier is one of the most important musical venues in the Hudson Valley, and this opening night was a big deal for the community. The New York Times even sent a photographer to cover the event.

One of the highlights of the show was a story Joziah told. He and Tink stopped at a local cafe in the town recently, and ran into Pete Seeger, gave him a ride home, and spent several hours talking with him about music and the universe. Consult the photo gallery to the right for a snapshot of a truly wonderful painting of Pete Seeger that adorns the back wall of the venue.

The show was opened by Paul Stafford, who is not just a local singer/songwriter with a guitar and a knack for melody, but he is one of the owners of the Towne Crier. The other owner is club manager/M.C. Phil Ciganer, who rated a mention in "Talkin' to the Buddha," when Joziah changed the lyric from "meet me at Joe's diner" to "meet me at Phil's diner."

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