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The Grand Slambovians ~ 2014 February 7 ~ Iron Horse Music Hall ~ Northampton, MA

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Band Personnel: Joziah Longo, lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica; Sharkey McEwen, guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, lead vocal on "I Want To Be Sedated"; Eric Puente, drums; Tink Lloyd, accordion, cello, tambourine, cowbell, backing vocals ... also known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

Set List

Grand Slambovians - Sunday in the Rain - Very Unusual Head - Suzanne {Leonard Cohen} - Hurdy Gurdy Man {Donovan} - Very Happy Now/Epistle to Dippy/I Want To Be Sedated medley - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying {Gerry & the Pacemakers} - Rocky Raccoon {Beatles} - Sixteen Tons - Here Comes the Sun {Beatles} - Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express ... intermission ... Northern Sea - Sullivan Lane - Well Respected Man {Kinks} - Yellow Submarine {Beatles} - Box of Everything - Talkin' to the Buddha - Pushing Up Daisies ... encore ... Golden Slumbers intro / The Invisible

Scroll down past the videos for review and photo gallery.


"Rocky Raccoon"

"Northern Sea"


The Grand Slambovians
The Grand Slambovians
Click on the picture
to see a photo gallery of the concert

A good reason to see this band multiple times is that the show is never the same twice. The constants are the high level of musicianship from everyone in the band, along with Joziah Longo's engaging, witty, and often metaphysical stage banter. Another constant is the sheer unpredictability of a Circus show.

Tonight's show is distinguished by a number of Beatles covers, in tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's earthquake appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9. In his own unpredictable way, Joziah sneaks in a few bars of other British Invasion songs by Gerry and the Pacemakers and (my personal favorites) The Kinks, as if testing the audience (or maybe testing the band!). One of the videos is of "Rocky Raccoon"; link to the video is above.

The show seems more musically dense than sometimes with the Circus. Joziah does have a tendency to ramble, but tonight his banter is more focused than usual. There is a second band scheduled for 10:00, so the Circus absolutely, positively have to be done by 9:30. The enthusiastic crowd inspires Joziah & Co. to want to give their best; the cheering after the first song ("Grand Slambovians") simply rocks the rafters. Another factor is the sheer fun created by those Beatles covers. Playing "Here Comes the Sun" and "Yellow Submarine" can't help but put you into a happy mood!

For the past several months the Slambovians have been promoting their folk album, appropriately titled Folk, while at the same time stating that they are not a folk band after all, and they have only been playing the folk circuit for the past many years because of all the money in folk. Who knew there was that much money in folk?? The band planned to play two songs from the album tonight, "Suzanne" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man," and they include them early in the set. I think including them early is a good idea. Tink does not play on "Suzanne," but she helps with the introduction and the touching dedication of the song to Pete Seeger's wife Toshi. You can see that Tink was deeply moved by the wisdom and the humor she and Joziah gained from time spent with Pete Seeger not very long ago. As the show progresses, the band move on to those joyful Beatles covers, but Joziah throws in an improv of "Sixteen Tons," also from Folk. Of those three songs from Folk, I like "Sixteen Tons" the best. It is the best singalong of the group. Singing along honors Pete Seeger.

The Iron Horse has always been one of my favorite venues. It is close to full tonight. The best seating area is the floor in front of the stage, and that section is full. The second best seating area is the first row of tables along the railing of the balcony, and those are full. The less advantageous seats, in the street level at an angle to the stage, and the tables further back in the balcony, are also mostly full. Because those latter seats don't afford a great view of the stage, my advice to folks attending shows at the Horse is to get there on the early side. Once inside, the servers are very efficient and welcoming, and the food is reliably good and not expensive. If ordering a dessert, plan to share!

More Circus

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Click for 2014 Concert Page with links to all 2014 concerts ... Click for Main Concert Page with links to all years

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