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Slambovian Circus of Dreams ~ 2017 June 2 ~ The Kate ~ Old Saybrook, CT

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Joziah Longo
Joziah Longo
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of the concert

Band Personnel: Joziah Longo, lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Tink Lloyd, cello, accordion, kazoo, recorder, bell, hand claps, tambourine, cowbell, flute, ukulele, floor tom, melodica, sitar, backing vocals; Kolson Pickard, trumpet, guitar, backing vocals; Bob Torsello, bass, backing vocals; Rick Quintanal, drums, percussion ... also known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

Set List

Pushing Up Daisies - Look Around - Very Unusual Head - Ding Dong Day - Absolutely Beautiful Friggin' Day - Force of Nature - Solve It All Daily - Lost Highway - Step Outta Time ... intermission ... Daydream Believer {Monkees} - The Never Was - Brilliantly Dumb - Very Happy Now / Epistle to Dippy / I Wanna Be Sedated - Pluto's Plight - Bees - Oh Susanna / Trans-Slambovian BiPolar Express ... encore ... The Invisible


Very Unusual Head

Lost Highway


Connecticut was introduced to the newest Slambovian, Kolson Pickard, tonight. Kolson is pinch-hitting for Sharkey McEwen, who has recently taken a journey to Peru, during which time Tink and Joziah performed several shows as a duo. Besides providing lead guitar on several songs, Kolson adds another dimension to the band's sound, in that his primary instrument is the trumpet. He played trumpet on more than half the songs. Tink and Joziah called him a "nephew" of the band and explained that not only did he play trumpet on one song on a previous Circus album ("Into the Mystic"), but he is the son of a musician with whom Tink was in a band some years ago (before Slambovia). He was dressed in a colorful outfit and had a lot of enthusiasm for the music.

Speaking of stylish clothes, I am pleased to see that Joziah has gone back to wearing a bowler hat. I never really liked the tall Mad Hatter straw hat that he has been sporting the past few years. To mention that Tink was dressed fashionably and looked just gorgeous is, of course, completely superfluous.

Also missing from the lineup tonight was usual drummer Felipe Torres, who has so many musical projects going that it's fortunate the Circus have a steady backup to whom they can turn, Rick Quintanal. I had seen Rick perform once before, at the Guthrie Center, last summer. Despite the relative rarity of his appearances, he was rock steady on the drums. Also performing tonight was the band's frequent bass player, upbeat and energetic Bob Torsello, whom I really enjoy watching on stage.

Given the absence of Sharkey, it made sense that the band would trot out a good number of the new songs, which they are prepping for the next album. Given the consistent high quality of these songs, I am really excited about hearing this album, and the band asserts that the recording process is moving along at a good clip. No release date has been discussed but I get the impression it will be this year. Of all the new songs, I like "Brilliantly Dumb" the best. Tink pounds on a floor tom on this song, and then switches over to a delicate Chinese bell. I also really like "Bees," on which Tink imitates the buzzing of bees on the sitar, and "Pluto's Plight," a humorous song about the former ninth planet. The new songs all feature Tink prominently on a wide variety of instruments (see long list above), and she has risen to the challenge of anchoring these new songs with consummate skill as well as good humor.

There were a couple of fun singalongs among the new songs, "Brilliantly Dumb" and "Bees." In the latter song, besides a phrase that the audience was asked to sing, we were also asked to make a buzzing sound at the beginning and end of the song. Another good singalong is "Very Unusual Head," which Joziah said he always used to dedicate to Syd Barrett, until he realized that the fans who follow the band are nuttier than Syd Barrett ever was. (I think this was meant as a term of endearment.)

This was not the first time I'd been to The Kate -- I've seen the Circus Christmas show there a few times -- but it was the first time I'd been there in the daylight. It's a beautiful hundred-year-old building, restored in the past decade to be a nonprofit performance venue, and featuring a delightful museum dedicated to acress Katharine Hepburn, the most well-known resident of Old Saybrook. The theater seats about 200, with reserved seats. The stage is high enough to be easily seen from even the back of the theater, and the sound was very good. A somewhat subduded light show played on the stage curtain behind the band. The venue does not serve food, but Concert Going Partner and I enjoyed a very nice Italian meal at a restaurant about one block north of the venue on Main Street called Fiore.

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