CTP3O at Caffe Lena?
No, it wasn’t the latest Star Wars droid. It was, instead, another Chandler Travis musical project coming to Nippertown. As in his many other bands, Chandler is the ring master of the circus, albeit a little smaller circus than others. Billed as a trio – er, rather a three-o – the actual line-up caused Sarah Craig, Caffe Lena’s director, to quip that math wasn’t the reason they went into music. The band began entering the stage with bassist John Clark first – the rest of the band letting him hang out by himself for awhile, swinging in the breeze, as he said. Maybe it was less than three, as the rest of the light crowd chuckled. Eventually, the other bandmembers showed up – a grand total of four, with valet Fred Boak joining in.
Chandler used the smaller, more nimble, line-up to fully utilize the Lena setup. Shifting from the stage, to traveling minstrel, Chandler wandered (sometime running) through the audience along with the lone representative of the June Trailer Dancers (the horn section from the Chandler Travis Philharmonic) Berke MacKelvey (soprano and alto sax, bass clarinet, keyboards and please forgive me if I forgot something) in tow. Even the upright bass was unplugged and brought into the audience. Luckily, there were no injuries.
The set list included Chandler Travis Philharmonic staples such as “Anne” and “You and Me Pushing Up Daisies” (with lyrics by David Greenberger, who was also in attendance, creating another source of one-liners for the friend of comedian George Carlin. Being more nimble also allowed them to perform songs from some of Travis’ other projects, Travis Shook & the Club Wow and the Incredible Casuals.
If you have never seen a Chandler Travis show, do yourself a favor and go. Luckily, you will have a chance at the Linda in November when the full Philharmonic will be performing. While the crowd was not very large, there were certainly fans. And while some may not have known much about the band when they arrived, they definitely left as fans. Who else can have your sides aching from laughter while at the same time appreciating the musical abilities? A full night of entertainment rolled up in one. Although they have performed in the area several times in the last year, they are actually from Cape Cod, so hopefully they got back home through Irene in one piece.
Review and photographs by Ed Conway