The Slip confuses me.
One minute they’re Indie Rock, full on. Next minute they’re Tom Petty. Then they’re some kind of blues-rock jam band with harmonica solos.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when bands confuse the audience. Mr. Bungle used to do it. The Roots did it a little bit when they put out a mix tape album called Phrenology. John Zorn did it when he put out a mellow, film-score sounding album called “The Gift.” Charles Mingus made a career out of confusing the audience, not to mention guys in the band.
But I get the feeling The Slip is confused about who they are and what they want to be. I got the feeling that folks throughout their musical career have told them what they should be doing, and they’ve listened too much. They seem unsure at times.
But at other times they are fully locked and loaded. They’ve got moments of clear beauty, where strong melodies resonate and single notes hang over the crowd for minutes. And their drummer wears a fezz hat and plays with a maraca in one hand.
The several hundred people huddled around the stage on the night I saw The Slip were transfixed. I saw one balding guy with a long, grey pony tail hang out right in front of the stage for the whole show, head bobbing, mouthing the lyrics to every song.
I left the show curious to know what The Slip was like 5 or 6 years ago, and whether their music was more confusing then or now.