Friday, November 28, 2008

FZ in Parenthesis


P - I - NKY!!!!
Originally uploaded by V'ron
Well, the annual Zappathing was a thing of beauty, and I'm saying this as a person who's not really into Zappa. (Despite the fact that Zappa compositions were used as both the processional and recessional at my wedding, and that I made it through the worst part of my labor with Stella by concentrating on the soothing but intricate sounds of "Return of the Son of Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar"...) But I can name about five Zappa tunes (the hits, of course, and the two I learned for a FZ tribute CD was put together by Jeff Hamilton and Paul Kneevers that maybe, just maybe, might actually see the light of day after, what, ten years when all those bands piled into Junkyard Studios to records our contributions?) and I really do appreciate the intricacy of what he did, both lyrically and musically.

So that's why the annual Zappathing was fun. (FZ is one of those artists that you don't have to be familiar with to enjoy, and maybe it was more fun for me because I'm taking the music at face value.)

Skirt continued from their offering the week before. (Another party filled with people I rarely get to see prevented me from seeing the Tempermentals, which is a shame because hearing Zappa compositions done in an almost country blues style was one of the highlights from last year.) Skirt's Jessica had on this terrific pleated polka dotted thing that belied her devotion to the music. You thought she was going to go up and sing torch songs. Naw, instead she jumps faithfully into the Mothers, backed by a band with the chops to do it.

Next up were these "kids" (whose name I shamefully forgot) who were a cross between punk and metal. They had a punk attitude (well, so did FZ at times, no?) and a metal delivery, and they did the work proud. A little shaky at first, but everybody agreed they're welcome to come back anytime.

Of course, the night finished with Dr Chow, and they came complete with a full set list, an inflatable doll for Miss Pinky (which turned the night into an almost stadium party, what with Miss Pinky being bandied about the room like a balloon at summerfest).

It's nights like these I don't mind cover bands (even though on nights like these, you remember that they're not really cover bands), but I'm still torn on these "Tribute Nights." A few days later, Linneman's had the "Nod to Bob" (a night of Dylan, of course), and a week earlier, ol Jim Linneman hosted "Kneel to Neil" (in case you haven't heard "Sugar Mountain" enough). It's almost like going to a festival of one kind of music. And when I do that, I get burnt out on it. I love Neil Young. I get Dylan. I appreciate FZ. But 6 hours of each?

I'd been talking to Milwaukee Metal Dave at the Steve MacKay show two weeks ago, and we both lamented the fact that promoters don't like to put together shows with too many different types of bands. It's always "chick night" or "glam metal night" or "folkie night." On one hand, I understand that bands want to attract people who are into the same kind of music, on the other hand, most people who like independent, local music appreciate several kinds of genres. These tribute nights, along with my conversation with Dave, sparked the idea that maybe somebody might want to try the oldschool Lollapalooza approach, selecting a pile of bands not because they all fit a certain genre, but because they're all good. I'd like to see all the bands that played the FZ night all together on a different night -- playing their standard sets. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see all the Nod to Bob bands the same way. OK, OK, OK, you all like Bob and Frank and Neil. Show me where you took that inspiration now.

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