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The Grand Slambovians ~ 2014 May 30 ~ The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN) ~ Natick, 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, theremin, backing vocals ... also known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams ... or ... The Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

Set List

Grand Slambovians - Feelings (a short snip) - Sunday in the Rain - Very Unusual Head - Hey Good Lookin' - Very Happy Now/Epistle to Dippy/I Want To Be Sedated medley - [Pete Seeger story] - Suzanne {Leonard Cohen} - Sixteen Tons - Tink (I Know It's You) - Box of Everything - Flapjacks From the Sky ... intermission ... Hurdy Gurdy Man {Donovan} - Winter Wonderland (improv) - Lost Highway - Pushing Up Daisies - Oh Susannah (improv) - Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express ... encore ... Rocketman {Elton John, improv} - Alligators

Scroll down past the videos for review.


"Flapjacks From the Sky"

"Tink (I Know It's You)"


Joziah Longo
Joziah in "Sixteen Tons"
one fist of iron, the other of steel
click thumbnail to see a photo gallery of the concert

Back from a month in England roared my favorite band, with yet another variation on their name (it's the Slambovian Circus of Dreams now), and they brought along some welcome twists to the set list.

The first time I saw Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, back in November of 2009 at the Narrows, their most recent album was Flapjacks From the Sky, and they were playing songs from that double record. Since then they have largely shelved the material from that album, but to my delight, and partially because the title track is on the band's new compilation, a revival of the ultra-spacey "Flapjacks From the Sky" was in store tonight. This is the song, ladies and gents, when Tink Lloyd abandons mainstream instruments like the sitar, piccolo, and melodica, and picks up the theremin. Yes, the theremin, that Russian thing you play by waving your hands around in front of it (no touching, please, we just got back from England!). Tink says that the machine has five octaves, and you'd better not have any other electronics nearby (even cell phones) because the sound will be even more unpredictable than it is anyway. Much of the weird spacey stuff on this number is played by super-adaptable Sharkey McEwen on slide guitar and effects pedal.

I of course was compelled to video "Flapjacks," the link is above, and please give the song a like on Youtube to encourage them to keep playing it! One can argue that fans like me who go to see the band often are not really the target audience, but the set list had been getting a little stale, and the inclusion of "Flapjacks" and the exclusion (even if just for a while) of "Windmills" and "Talkin' to the Buddha" are great improvements.

With a Circus show there is the set list, and then there are the nutty improvs Joziah comes up with during the show. This time it was a few bars of "Feelings" (a moment later Tink said she'd like the band to learn it); a longer segment of "Hey Good Lookin'" (Joziah's dad's favorite song); a verse or two of "Winter Wonderland" (borrowed from the Circus' holiday shows); "Oh Susannah"; and to start the encore, a few bars of an unknown Beatles song followed by a fairly long piece of Elton John's "Rocketman" (which Eric, the drummer, seemed to know since he was the only one actually playing the song).

Another refreshing change to the set list was the final song, "Alligators," which appears on the new Box of Everything compilation, and has never before been released as a studio recording. I was surprised at how good it was. Of course it's totally appropriate as the final song, since it has lyrics like "see you later alligator, it's time for us to go," but musically it was a tasty treat, as it started out as a wimpy ballad (oh! I mean a sissy song) and built up to a real rave up before it was over. Although I looooove "The Invisible" (the song with which they've been ending shows for the past year or so), this one is an instant crowd pleaser.

Housed in a historic firehouse, TCAN is a lovely venue, with delicious cookies and coffee for sale, and a friendly, helpful staff. It was my second visit to TCAN in three weeks, and although it is easy to get to, and there is plenty of on-street free parking in the area, I have decided that driving on Rte. 9 West out of Boston during a rush hour is a bad idea, and the next time I shall seek an alternate route.

More Slambovians

Here is a page with a handy list of links to all pages on this website with content relating to Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

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