Music Notes: Rock Pianist Marco Benevento Visits SubCulture This Friday

Marco Beneveto

Pianist, producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marco Benevento is a staple on the experimental rock and jazz scenes. Having performed with his band at Carnegie Hall, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, SXSW, and Celebrate Brooklyn, among others, Benevento is no stranger to life on the road and has spent the last 15 years creating music in several different bands and as a solo artist. Describing his music as “rock piano with a twist,” Benevento has toured with such acclaimed artists as Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon of Phish, released over six albums, and is currently working on an upcoming album to be released in September.

Having played multiple times at Bowery Ballroom, Benevento is excited to return to New York  this Friday to perform at the new venue, SubCulture, which opened in September 2013. Located in the basement of Lynn Redgrave Theater, a socially conscious performing arts center on Bleecker Street, the venue’s goal is to “showcase eclectic yet accessible performances and genre-defying music.” The venue is a great place to catch unique performances, despite its “cozy” feel when the retractable chairs are out and there’s no dance floor or standing room.

Benevento’s music career took off in 2002 when he moved to New York and lived in Bushwick. “I had a loft out on the Halsey stop on the L train on Eldert Street and we’d have crazy parties and play music all night,” he says.

He played gigs around the city almost every evening with various different musicians, and eventually formed an organ and drum duo with Joe Russo, releasing several records before forming a band with Matt Chamberlain and Reed Mathis in 2007.

Benevento released his last album, Tigerface, in 2012 with the single Limbs of a Pine. The album is his most pop-influenced yet, with a variety of synths and electronic additions to his usual classical/jazz mode.

“I like upbeat music. I like to see the crowd dancing,” says Benevento. “For a while my band played jazz rooms, but now we play bigger rooms with bigger production so it’s nice to utilize all of that to create a party. I use drum machines to write music as well as synthesizers, so the piano, bass and drums are surrounded by various other colors and textures in our live show.”

For his upcoming  album, Benevento is focusing on singing. Having worked with Richard Swift (the Shins, the Black Keys), Benevento says that lyrics have opened a new door in his musical life.

“Richard [Swift] really brought out some good performances in my band. Same style of songwriting – more on the rock side than on the jazz side – but now most of my new tunes have words,” says Benevento.

For a more instrumental track, check out Benevento’s 2011 song, Greenpoint

Friday, April 18 // $25 in advance, $30 at the door // Shows at 7:30pm and 10pm // 45 Bleeker Street