Adrian Belew My Face Off

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Progressive rock virtuoso Adrian Belew performed much of Friday night’s two-set show with a shit-eating grin on his craggy face, his fingers dancing nimbly up and down the neck of his retro orange guitar, his effects pedals ensuring that the tones he produced were never quite ordinary. To Belew’s right, 21-year-old bassist Julie Slick played with her long curly hair hanging in her face. To his left, her younger brother, drummer Eric Slick, pounded out beats with changing time signatures amidst the occasional danceable grooves and spirited interchanges — dare I say face-offs? — with Belew.

All together, they filled the room with a dynamic stew of electrifying prog rock and played two fun sets of Belew originals and King Crimson numbers that were enjoyed by a mature, mostly male audience. The tremendously short set break was marked by a solo instrumental performance by Belew, the highlight a captivating cover of The Beatles’ psychedelic “Within You, Without You,” in which Belew perfectly recreated the tone of the tambura (a sitar-like instrument from India). It was the type of show that makes it hard to get a drink or take a bathroom break because you’re afraid you’ll miss something good. Belew was clearly having a raging good time with his young cohorts, their interchange spirited and a treat to take in. When the trio came out and encored with “Thela Hun Ginjeet” — a King Crimson standard – the 300 or so attendees who stood rapt and still through much of the show became an energized mass of dancing bodies.

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