Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The last installment of Live on the Green for the year turned into Live on the Scream, or Scream on the Green, or some other live screaming variation, complete with a Halloween costumed audience, and weirdness from our boys H-Beam and the always funky Here Come The Mummies.
There was another band that played first, but their Kings of Leon meets a depressed Muse emo pop made me head straight for the parking garage where my friend had locked his keys in his car. The stage was still more depressing, and less entertaining for that matter.
H-Beam on the other hand, made it clear from the get-go that they were going to give Nashville their full on assault of crazy characters and shenanigans, the likes of which the Green had never seen. Their Pig Lawyer, dancing Panda, and life sized Mustache all made appearances in skits and songs all night long. They even recruited a handful of hot zombies to dance during their rendition of Jacko's "Thriller". Among all this spectacle, the Beam sounded better than I have ever heard them sound. Curt Redding and Russell Wright have become the most solid rhythm section this band has seen, and Adam Livingston (from Boom Ticket) is melding nicely into the second guitar role. Andrew "Fantastic" fills every other roll with ease, and Matty "Banana" Walberg owned that Green stage. It was great to see H-Beam do what they do, on a huge stage in front of thousands of people, they were true to who they are and they did it well.
Not to be outdone, Here Come The Mummies came marching through the crowd drum line style wrapped head to toe in their usual mummy wrap. When they kicked into their first number, the crowd came alive. The party was on with the undead hosts blasting their funk tunes and waving their huge freak flag. The band consisted of mummy bass, guitar, keys, drums and a huge horny horn section, and their songs were chock full of sexy double entendre, as well as funny puns and party lines. The whole thing was an unadulterated good time. This was the perfect way to end another season of Live on the Green, and also a fun way to kick off Halloween 2011.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Tonight's show was one that I had been anticipating for quite some time. Although I figured Weird Al at the Ryman probably wasn't going to knock my socks off, I knew it would be fun and unique, unlike anything I had seen before.
After acquiring a cheap ticket relatively quickly, I made my way inside and up to my usual perch in the balcony. I was relieved to see that on this night there was no opening act set up. Sometimes it's nice to not have to sit through a time filler before you get the goods. This development left me with ample time for people watching, which was great with such a colorful crowd. There were mom jeans and turtle necks galore, and weirdos from all ages. The wacky innocence from a crowd full of people who only go to about one show a year, and that show being Weird Al, made me feel like I was at a county fair in Topeka. They filed in brimming with youthful giddiness and handfuls of t-shirts, posters and popcorn.
The lights went down, and as I had quietly predicted, no one stood up. No one moved really. There was some polite applause, and a little yelling, but overall it was a very well behaved welcome. They launched into "Polka Face", a 2011 version of the "Polka Your Eyes Out" medley, with more recent parodies of Justin Beiber and Ladies Gaga and Antebellum, complete with bubbles and zoom whistles. There seemed to be a Nashville homer theme developing, with nods to Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and even a jab at local hero Jack White.
While the songs, with their puns and silly rhymes were one thing, the stage production was quite another. Each number had costumes, wigs, and even some choreographed dance moves. The costume change time between songs was filled with filmed interviews with Pop celebs that were obviously edited for comedic appeal. "Al T.V." made Jessica Simpson, Madonna, and others look like idiots with clever questions and well timed cuts, and they also showed clips from just about every popular T.V. show in the past twenty years referencing Weird Al.
Every song was done all out. "Smells Like Nirvana" had the band members dressed just like the classic "Teen Spirit" video, and there were even a couple of grungy cheerleaders dancing around. After a complete "Amish Paradise" and a long medley of a half-a-dozen favorites, there was another Lady Gaga tune and a couple of hip-hop numbers that I didn't recognize before they ended with "Fat", complete with, you guessed it, the full fat suit. The encore started with eight Storm Troopers walking out on stage along with Darth Vader, and "The Saga Begins", the epic tale of the newer Star Wars films set to "American Pie". Then, as if to make full use of the characters, they finished with "Yoda", one of my favorite Al songs, about the little Jedi monster sung to the tune of "Lola". It was the perfect ending to a wild, wacky, wonderful, weird night.