Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Good Cop and Bad Cop Go See Songs for Unusual Creatures

Good Cop: It’s good to be back blogging again. When’s the last time we reviewed something here?

Bad Cop: December 09 I think, Jeff Hamilton’s trio album.

Good Cop: That poor guy deserved better than us. No wonder they put us in mothballs after that one.

Bad Cop: Yeah, I really love that album actually. Sorry, Jeff, it’s just my nature. I don’t know how to be good.

Good Cop: Did you ever review a concert before?

Bad Cop: Hell yeah! Foghat at Westbury Music Fair! [sings] “Fool fo the sitteh!”

Good Cop: Shhhhh! People will think you’re a crackhead or something.

Bad Cop: That’s the point, isn’t it?

Good Cop [ignores him]: So today we’re going to Barbes in Brooklyn to see Songs for Unusual Creatures. This quirky instrumental project is a creation of multi-instrumentalist composer Michael Hearst, who before this did Songs for Ice Cream Trucks.

Bad Cop: That was fun. I don’t like his main band though.

Good Cop: Would you please open your mind? You have no idea what this sounds like.

Bad Cop: OK, ok. Here we are. You want a drink? I want a drink.

Good Cop: No drinks for me. I’m on duty.

Bad Cop (looks around): Ewwwwww! Yuppie children! We gotta get out of here!

Good Cop: Don’t worry, they don’t look contagious, none of them are sniveling. Besides, what makes you assume they’re yuppies?

Bad Cop: They’re sitting still. Normal kids fidget during concerts.

Good Cop: Don’t stress. They won’t ruin the show for you.

Bad Cop: They’re sick, I just know it. Their brains are so fried by Prozac and Ritalin they don’t have the sense not to put their fingers in their eyes after using a public toilet.

Good Cop: Don’t forget, we’re on a mission. We have to turn in some copy here. Be a good sport, huh?

Bad Cop: Uhhh….ok, this band has a tuba, keyboards, trumpet, a guy with a claviola and a jazz drummer.

Good Cop: How do you know he’s a jazz drummer?

Bad Cop: He’s older than the rest of them, and he sits like a jazz drummer. Like he wants to play with brushes or something.

Good Cop: What’s a claviola?

Bad Cop: It’s a melodica with a fancy body. You blow into that tube and play the notes with the keys. Just like a melodica except probably more expensive.

Good Cop: OK, here we go. I like this first instrumental about a horned puffin. It sounds like klezmer but done with swirly space organ like a Ventures sci-fi tune.

Bad Cop: Good tune but tell me what the Ventures have to do with puffins. Or klezmer.

Good Cop: I dunno. It’s music. There are no rules.

Bad Cop: OK, ok. I like that creepy keyboard setting. This next song has the same kind of klezmer minor key thing going on except that it’s a bolero in disguise. And I like how it doesn’t just go verse-chorus over and over.

Good Cop: We’re not supposed to agree on things. This could get ugly.

Bad Cop: Oh, you know it will. Now this song is from the Music for Ice Cream Trucks record. It’s about that parking lot past the Gowanus Canal where they keep all the Mister Softee trucks, and it’s bouncy and fun. I just don’t understand how it relates to that slide projected up there on the screen behind the band, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

Good Cop: If you hadn’t distracted me I could give you an answer, I think the guy driving the truck is a bassoonist, and wrote it, or played on it, or something. I wish I could have had children’s music like this when I was a kid…

Bad Cop [does a doubletake, looks around, raises his eyebrows]: Oh my god, you just dragged me to a children’s music show. That explains the…

Good Cop: I know, isn’t it awesome? A children’s band that doesn’t treat their audience patronizingly. Mummenschanz, eat my ass!

Bad Cop: That’s supposed to be my line!

Good Cop: Too good to resist. Besides, you broke character earlier. You have to admit, this music is really good, isn’t it?

Bad Cop: It is, it is. I’m tapping my feet, I like how these songs are fun and clever, how you can be a kid or an adult and enjoy them for different if equally valid reasons. And especially how dark some of them are. This particular number they’re playing right now about a dugong sounds like a requiem for the poor things. But they’re not from Australia like the guy said. They’re from the Persian Gulf, they’ve been decimated starting with the first Gulf War…

Good Cop: Now the band’s front line have all switched to melodicas. If you were paying attention you would have discovered that this song was written for and recorded by the Kronos Quartet…

Bad Cop: They suck! Did you know that they play to a cd? Eighty percent of what you hear at a Kronos Quartet show is prerecorded, makes an ELO concert look pretty good by comparison…

Good Cop: That’s funny. Did you hear? The tuba player just asked the claviola guy if the Kronos Quartet recorded the songs in his bedroom?

Bad Cop: I don’t see what’s so funny about that. Besides, I don’t like the tuba player.

Good Cop: Why not? He’s funny!

Bad Cop: Tuba players are funny by definition. Besides, this guy dissed a friend of mine.

Good Cop: And your friend couldn’t stick up for himself?

Bad Cop: She’s a girl. A pretty girl.

Good Cop: And your pretty girl…um…acquaintance couldn’t stick up for herself?

Bad Cop: It’s a guy thing, you wouldn’t understand. Chivalry.

Good Cop: OK. Let’s get out of here before your chivalry gets your butt kicked.

Bad Cop: Yeah, that kid just stuck his finger up his nose. Is there a liquor store around here?

Good Cop: I shouldn’t tell you. Follow your intuition.

Bad Cop [exiting]: Ghetto. Or what’s left of it. Fifth Avenue, downhill. Past the mattress store and the pizza place as I recall…

February 26, 2011 - Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , ,

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