Posts Tagged ‘Les Claypool’
I have wanted to see one of Les Claypool’s latest creations since it was released. A couple weeks ago I got the chance and it not only lived up to expectations, but exceeded them.
The bassist, best known for his role in Primus, recently wrote, directed and acted in a National Lampoon film “Electric Apricot (Quest for Festeroo).”
The film is based in the spring of 2005 where a UCLA film student sets out to capture a counter-culture movement in music never before seen. What he finds is Electric Apricot.
The Spinal Tapesque film is a parody of jam bands, a premise that is ripe for satire. Delivering on multiple levels, this comedy will appeal to anyone who has ever listened to the Grateful Dead or Phish.
The mockumentary-style film follows a jam band Electric Apricot, which has an unhealthy affinity for the Grateful Dead, so much that their logo is a blatant rip-off of the Dead’s, from their days of playing at coffee shops to playing the “prestigious” Festeroo jam band festival.
Along the way comedy ensues when the band goes into the studio to record its first album, immediately has to get therapy to work through their issues and sets out on the road for Festeroo.
Claypool, who plays the role of Lapland ‘Lapdog’ Miclovich the band’s drummer is hilarious in the role and really lets his sense of humor shine.
It’s really quite absurd how dead on the film manages to nail the whole jam band scene. As if to add a stamp of comedy approval there are some great cameos in the film including: Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Mike Gordon of Phish and Warren Haynes and Matt Abts of Gov’t Mule. Comedians Seth Green and Matt Stone also make a brief appearance.
Going to a Les Claypool concert is like entering an alternate reality.
In a Claypool reality, it is commonplace to see a man wearing a pig mask, juggling chainsaws, swallowing swords or riding a bike pulled by a tiny monkey.
Those were just a few of the highlights from the 2009 Oddity Faire, a “Mutated Mini Fest,” that hit Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium Saturday night. The eclectic faire, composed by Les Claypool, featured Yard Dogs Road Show, Saul Williams and Secret Chief 3.
Claypool’s inspiration for the faire, and what he accomplishes, is a full on experience inspired by the show circuses of old. As he calls it: a show for the freaks by the freaks.
All antics aside, Claypool put on a fantastic set that showcased why he is one of the world’s leading bass players. He kicked off with the Primus classic “Fisticuffs” that sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
From there Claypool launched into “High Ball with the Devil” before delving into new material off his new album, Of Fungi and Foe, to be released Tuesday.
The album is based off of songs Claypool composed for two soundtracks. One was for an interactive game where a meteor hits earth and all the mushrooms in the fallout zone acquire intellect. The second score was for a film about a three-thousand pound wild boar that ravages the marijuana fields of northern California.
“This music became the foundation of the songs that fill this collection. With a few added tidbits and a bit of gypsy sauce, I inflict upon you…Of Fungi and Foe” -Claypool
Needless to say, the show spiraled into a massive jam session with Claypool slipping into numerous different trademark costumes including: a pig, monkey, Elvis and a hunter’s hat.
For one new song called “Red State Girl,” which is about Sarah Palin, Claypool emerged with his upright bass and proceeded to pluck and thump the strings while wearing a pig mask.
A final highlight of the show was when Saul Williams came out and read a poem. Through the show Claypool waddled around the stage flailing his legs doing a duck-like walk while slamming the bass beat out. And his trademark low rolling voice echoed through the hall.
Without so much as a sign of effort, Claypool unloaded some of the most complex bass riffs composed. His unique percussion driven style painted an ominous sonic soundscape which was accompanied by drums, cello and xylophone.
Of the opening acts, Saul Williams brought the most energy to the stage, whereas the Yard Dogs contributed a heavy dose of theatrics.
Secret Chief 3 came out wearing dark hooded cloaks and unleashed a nearly hour jam session on the audience to open up the show.
Williams followed providing his politically charged rhymes combined with some lyrical levity at points. He finished off the set with his hit “List of Demands.”
The Yard Dogs created an almost circus-like atmosphere with its cabaret featuring Las Vegas-style showgirls, sword swallowing, magic tricks, vaudeville, burlesque and sideshow antics. All combined with their special brand of music that carried the entertainment.
All the groups are some of the most progressive acts in the music industry today, and are rarely ever mentioned in the mainstream music industry. The entire show, which included knife and chainsaw juggling in the intermissions, lasted more than four hours. Patrons left assured they had gotten more than their money’s worth.