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The Slambovian Circus of Dreams with Hamell on Trial ~ 2014 June 26 ~ Fairfield Theater Company ~ Fairfield, CT

... by Joanne Corsano ... joanne@picturelake.com

Band Personnel: Joziah Longo, lead vocals, guitar, 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 Grand Slambovians.

Set List

Grand Slambovians - Tink (I Know It's You) - Very Unusual Head - Very Happy Now/Epistle to Dippy/I Want To Be Sedated medley - [Pete Seeger story] - Suzanne {Leonard Cohen} - Lost Highway - Flapjacks From the Sky - Box of Everything ... intermission ... Rocket [with backing track] - Pushing Up Daisies - Tiny Bubbles (improv) - Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express ... encore ... Alligators

Scroll down past the videos for review.

Videos

"Flapjacks From the Sky"

"Pushing Up Daisies"

"Tiny Bubbles" (short, very goofy improv)

"Alligators"

Review

Slambovian Circus of Dreams
Slambovian Circus of Dreams
click thumbnail to see a photo gallery of the concert

The Circus teamed up with renowned punk-folk singer Ed Hamell to present one of the most unusual double bills I've ever seen, a benefit for the nonprofit theater and WPKN, the local listener-supported radio station.

First up is Ed Hamell. It tells you something that instead of performing under his own name, he performs as a band: Hamell On Trial. He's bald, he's energetic, he doesn't have a wimpy bone in his body, he's a one man punk band with a folksinger's songwriting skill. He pounds his vintage acoustic, extracting seriously electric sounds from this instrument, which dates from 1937. An angry and aggressive singer, he is also very funny and entertaining. His songs are chock full of words, words, words, which he spews out in rapid fire fashion, but with clear as a bell enunciation. I've never quite seen anything like him. Members of the Slambovians were heard later on to concur with this opinion.

The fact that Hamell On Trial played a long set, probably about 45 minutes, did cut into the available time for the Slambovians somewhat. They made the best of a somewhat abbreviated time frame and presented a high quality, well chosen twelve songs, not counting a couple of goofy improvs. Highlights included "Lost Highway," which Joziah says the band is finally feeling okay about playing without a bass player; "Flapjacks From the Sky" (Tink on theremin -- absolutely brilliant), and "Alligators" as the encore. One of the goofy improvs was in response to an audience heckler who shouted out for "Tiny Bubbles" -- and wouldn't you know it, Joziah knew a few bars of the song!

I have been to the Fairfield Theater Company twice before, both times to see Graham Parker with the Figgs. It's a very good venue with steeply sloping rows of seats so that everyone can see, even in the back row. In addition to music, the venue presents theatrical performances. Ticket prices tend to be a little higher than in other venues, but that is to be expected as one begins to approach New York City. Although it was a long drive, it is an extremely easy location to find, and there is plentiful free parking (after 5:00 pm) in the nearby lot for the MetroNorth commuter rail.

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