November 21, 2007
New York, NY
* Live Review by Shaq
* Live Pictures by Tim Farides
The best description for Slough Feg that Iâ€™ve heard is that they are â€œthe best band youâ€™ve never heard of.â€ I admit that I was late to the party with them, but once I got there it didnâ€™t take long for me to start partying hard. When I found out that they were going across the country on a U.S. tour, I knew there was no way that I could pass up the opportunity to check them out live.
I wasnâ€™t too sure what kind of turnout to expect, but I assumed it wouldnâ€™t be very high – a downright shame. The club was a small place in the basement of the building that had more of a platform than a stage. Despite how dreary that sounds it was actually a pretty cool place to take in a small show. You could get up close and personal with the band, and as Slough Feg would later demonstrate, they could get up close and personal with you. By the time the show began, the crowd had grown to maybe 30 people or so. The band took the stage in a very relaxed manner, jamming on their instruments and making jokes. Lead singer and guitarist Mike Scalzi began the evening by holding up a George Benson record, claiming it to be their new album and explaining â€œI had some implants in this picture, but Iâ€™m feeling much better now.â€
After some more cracks about the lights, the band began to dive into their setlist, opening with the intro to â€œHardworlderâ€ which led into â€œTiger! Tiger!â€ It quickly became obvious that this was going to be one of the most fun shows I had ever been to. When he wasnâ€™t singing, Scalzi would run around like a madman, venturing into the crowd while playing despite being tethered by his guitar cord. Many times his pedal (note that his stage setup consisted of just one pedal) would follow him and he would have to pick it up on his way back. All I could think to myself is that it this must be what it was like when AC/DC was playing small clubs; they had the same kind of aura and stage presence while performing.
As expected, the set contained many songs from their newest record called HARDWORLDER, released a few months prior. In fact, almost half of the 18 song set came from this album. Also well represented was the fan-favorite TRAVELLER album. However, with these two albums drawn heavily from, there wasnâ€™t much room left for the other albums, which I would cite as my only complaint about the evening not that I had any real motivation to complain at all. TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS was ignored entirely, and per a request from the crowd, â€œRed Branchâ€ was played from the self-titled album.
That being said, this is the kind of band that truly has no bad material, so regardless of what they play you are going to walk away satisfied. After playing a version of â€œWarriorâ€™s Dawnâ€ with an extremely extended solo section that included Mike playing from seemingly every corner of the room, the band left the stage as an end to the set. Iâ€™m not sure if they had been playing encores at some of the other stops but the crowd in New York certainly demanded one, and they were quick to deliver. They finished the night out with a three song encore of â€œInsomnia,â€ â€œThe Final Gambit,â€ and finally their fun cover of Manilla Roadâ€™s â€œStreet Jammer.â€
All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable shows Iâ€™ve ever witnessed, and I commend the band for making the effort to tour the country despite low turnouts even in markets like New York City. It is great to see that kind of dedication from a band, and I can only hope that the crowds get larger the next time around. If they are coming anywhere near you, you would be making a huge mistake if you did not go
The Spinward Marches
High Passage/Low Passage
Eumaeus the Swineherd
Frankfurt-Hahn Airport Blues
Warrior’s Dawn (with extended solos)
The Final Gambit