One of the first things you notice at a Duo gig is the stage setup. The drumset and keyboard enclave sit side-by-side, facing each other at the stage's lip. You're not quite sure where to look, especially when Marco Benevento and Joe Russo take the stage and start locking eyes with each other, navigating their way through improvised jams with skill and eye contact alone. There's no discernable frontman and no onstage gimmickry, but you know what? It works. The Benevento/Russo Duo wants you to focus on the music, and that's enough to hold your attention for even the longest of jams.
Benevento and Russo were kind enough to invite our cameramen onstage, where we could capture some of the best shots in the Baeble catalogue. Check out Benevento's stocking-clad feet as he pumps the organ's damper pedal, or Tom Hamilton's surprise cameo during one of the first songs.
Although the two have been friends since junior high, keyboardist/organ player Marco Benevento and drummer Joe Russo officially began their musical partnership in 2001. The pair scored a weekly residency at the Knitting Factory in downtown Manhattan, playing every Thursday night for $100 a show. After a year of weekly gigs, the crowds expanded, the venues multiplied, and the pay improved.
By 2003, the band had self-released two albums: the simply-titled Debut Album (sometimes referred to as Benevento/Russo Duo) and Darts [Live]. Best Reason to Buy the Sun was released on Ropeadope Records in 2004, and Play Pause Stop followed in 2006.
The band tours frequently and has played such high-profile festivals as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Phish members Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio have joined the group on several occasions. And on a completely unrelated note, both Marco and Joe are outspoken fans of Marker’s Mark bourbon (thank you, Wikipedia).