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The Slambovian Circus of Dreams ~ 2016 April 2 ~ South Shore Folk Music Club at the Beal House ~ Kingston, MA

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

Band Personnel: Joziah Longo, lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Sharkey McEwen, guitar, mandolin, vocals; Felipe Torres, drums, percussion; Tink Lloyd, accordion, cello, tambourine, cowbell, theremin, flute, recorder, piccolo, backing vocals ... also known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams ... or ... The Grand Slambovians.

Set List

Grand Slambovians - Lost Highway - Very Unusual Head - Very Happy Now/Epistle to Dippy/I Want To Be Sedated {Sharkey lead vocal on the Ramones part} - Blue Moon {Elvis Presley} {on which the audience took the lead vocal} - Fumes - Folsom Prison Pinball/I Wish {see video} - Flapjacks From the Sky - Step Outta Time {new song, from Folk II}... intermission ... Solve It All Dalí {"daily"}; {new song} - Glide - Moondog House - Talkin' to the Buddha - Major Tom {snip} - Freight Train Blues {Doc Watson} - Oh Susanna intro - Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express ... encore ... Wizard of Oz medley: Somewhere Over the Rainbow/If I Only Had a Brain/Off to See the Wizard

Scroll down past the video for review.

Video

"Folsom Prison Pinball / I Wish"

Review

Tink Lloyd, Slambovian Circus of Dreams
Tink Lloyd on theremin, Slambovian Circus of Dreams
click thumbnail to see a photo gallery of the concert

The Slambovians were particularly hot tonight. For one thing, they played loud, louder than usual, even though this was a folk club. It created an even more exciting atmosphere than usual when the Circus comes to town.

The set, consisting of somewhere from 17 to 22 songs (depending on how you count their nutty medleys and silly improvs), veered from new songs, to old favorites, and a fab cover or five. Several old songs came from the Flapjacks From the Sky album, which was 10 years old as of last year, including audience favorites "Glide," "Moondog House," and the album's title track. One of the new songs was "Step Outta Time," from the Folk II CD (which is now available for purchase at the shows again, after having been briefly out of print), a song that top Slambovian Joziah Longo described as a cross between the Allman Brothers and Pete Seeger (and I heard "Whipping Post" as the song began). The other new song was "Solve It All Dalí," which featured an intro from Tink Lloyd about Joziah's time in art school as an "at-risk" youth from the hood of South Philadelphia, and when one visualizes the psychedelic paintings of Salvador Dalí one can see the link to some of Joziah's lyrics and ideas. Tink encouraged the audience to close our eyes and press hard on our eyelids in order to create a lightshow appropriate for the song! The Iberian flavored song had Sharkey McEwen on Spanish guitar, Tink on recorder, and drummer Felipe Torres on castanets.

Did I mention new drummer Felipe Torres! This was my first time seeing Felipe. He has played about a dozen shows with the band, following the retirement of former drummer Eric Puente. Eric is a marvelous drummer and a friendly guy; Felipe is a marvelous drummer with a flamboyant style. He twirled his drumsticks, he drummed on the metal rims of his drums, he sang along with songs even though he wasn't miked, and he added a rhythmic twist on a few old songs ("Grand Slambovians," for instance). He also seems to be a quick study; when Joziah and Sharkey started "Fumes," apparently not on the written setlist, one could tell from the look on Felipe's face that he had never played the song (and maybe had never heard it!), but he jumped right in and instinctively knew what to do. Although all Slambovia misses Eric (and Tony Zuzulo before him), we all welcome Felipe.

The musicians were having a good time up on stage tonight, especially Sharkey, who was all smiles for much of the show, and even jumped in briefly with a nutty improv of his own following an Elvis improv from Joziah. I had never seen Sharkey do anything like that! There were even more impulsive improvs from Joziah than usual, including a rendition of "Freight Train Blues" during which he absolutely nailed the high train whistle notes (I'm sure Doc Watson would approve).

This was a wild night for multi-instrumentalist Tink Lloyd, who played accordion, cello, percussion, theremin (that Russian thing that you play by waving your hands around it), flute, recorder, and piccolo. She also used her recorder as a drumstick, tapping along with the rhythm on "Moondog House." The piccolo came out during the encore, a "Wizard Of Oz" medley.

This was also a Pete Seeger night because of the amount of audience participation. At one point Joziah started the familar chords to "Blue Moon" (Elvis), and he couldn't think of the lyrics, but the audience could -- several sweet voices from the crowd handled the vocals on that one. And for the encore we got the ultimate singalong, the Wizard of Oz medley that the Circus have dusted off and re-introduced at shows lately. Everyone got to sing on that one, including Felipe, who took the Tin Woodsman's line, and of course Tink, in the role of Dorothy.

I believe this was the Circus' first time playing this venue. The South Shore Folk Music Club at the Beal House (at the Unitarian Universalist Church) was a great venue for them. The average sized stage was big enough for the band with their many instruments, and high enough off the floor for good visibility. About 100 comfortable folding chairs were set out and filled with enthusiastic concert goers. Coffee and home-baked goodies were for sale before the show and during the intermission. It was a very good venue and I suspect Concert Going Partner and I might be heading that way again; at 35 minutes from our house this may be the shortest drive we've ever made to see a Circus concert. I have been off the circuit for some months with an illness, and I am just pleased as punch to be back in Slambovia. From the opening fist bumps between Joziah and his bandmates, to the closing notes of the encore, this was a topnotch show from this unique band that just keeps rollin' along.

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