Jaime tipped us off about the show Friday night in January at the Vera. We filed into the Vera Project out of the night and set our equipment up, saying "hi" to Starr as we came in. The cat walk visuals and sound work well, the acoustic bluegrass/new grass with mild amplification gives a clean accurate sound that is easy to capture.
My pictures were shakier, though.
Dust Busters kicked things off with Kristin Andreassen dancing and playing harmonica, singing and playing guitar too I think.
The dancing added quite a bit, it worked as a beat/rhythm part as she tapped away on some of the songs. A variety of guitars, fiddles, banjos, and harmonicas were employed by various band members, usually without drums or a rhythm section.
Jeffrey Lewis was selling comic books, and he used his drawings in his performance too. He started out doing some witty acoustic guitar singer songwriter material
Comics (he sells Fuff comics, which he also writes) informed his musical material, so does his sardonic sense of humor. He did some drawings inspired by an assortment of obscure psychedelic songs and showed them to us on the projector screen behind the stage while he played short samples of the odd songs with each image. He also couched down and sang an a capella bit to some comic material, you can find that on my youtube channel somewhere.
Lewis brought Stampfel and a fiddler from the Dust Busters on for several songs and also charmed me with a song about his band ambitions in the final 4 or so minutes. Fuck that man! 'cause we're a rock and roll band! In spite of the heroin addiction, you kind of do want to be in his band.
Peter Stampfel came on and played his unique brand of bluegrass/rock music. The sax is cool, and the layering of instruments and Stampfel's unique vocal approach, wailing and nearly yodeling wordlessly.
The energy and power is wonderful. Happy rolling cowboy brings that kind of yodeling yipping out to full effect.
Douchebag is probably my favorite:
Wonderful chorus, yes sir! When he gets to wailing about hackers stealing all the e-mails it takes on a wonderful nearly demented quality, and now they're frying 'em. Wonderful, powerfully odd. Not much like anything else I've listened to recently, the Maltby bluegrass pot-luck monthly show is traditional bluegrass and otherwise I really just don't listen to that much bluegrass.
To me, "sounds like nothing I've heard recently" is praise. They've managed to stake some new territory, taking me to a different style that's new to me. I like that!