How can so much funk exist in one skinny white boy?
Fresh from playing two sets at Bonaroo, one with his own band and the other with Oysterhead, Les Claypool, frontman for the rock band Primus, brought his mask collection, his bass collection, Gabby La La, her theremin and sitar, and the rest of his hipster band, which included Skerik, Mike Dillon, and Paulo Baldi, for a smoking thump-fest at Austin's La Zona Rosa. Not only were fans Austin there, but a motley collection of camp followers from as far away as Australia who have been following the tour to watch his legendary work with the bass. He did not disappoint.
Les Claypool has gathered what must be the caucasian equivilent of Parliment/Funkadelic, as if assembled by John Waters, to play his 90+ minute set. Songs were primarily from from his solo projects with a few Primus nuggets thrown in for good measure. Touring in support of his new solo Of Whales and Woe, lots of material from this disc was evident including the title track. Crowd favorites and mine certainly included the funked up "Off White Guilt," "Vernon the Company Man," as well as "Phantom Patriot." He also covered such gems as "Holy Mackerel" and "One Step Beyond" from the band Madness.
This concert was a blast, Les changing into his masks mid-set, appearing in such things as an Elvis mask and at one point what appeared to be a gorrilla mask, but I was too far back to see. Les has a very darkly humorous vein to him, and it was great to watch him sarcastically lambast a fan who made the mistake of flipping him off. Gabby La La, herself an interesting presence onstage, alternated wailing away on the sitar and the theremin, which oddly complements Les' music. I think I could watch Les and his various bands play every night and be entertained.
Opening for Les was a band that literally defies any genre classification I can come up with. I am stumped. Rasputina consists of three musicians playing two cellos and a set of drums, all in Victorian period costume. It was amazing to hear them fill the room with sound, playing a number of their own songs as well as part of Sir Mixalot's "Baby Got Back" and a smoking rendition of Heart's "Barracuda." I have heard many bands cover those songs, but never with cello, and they absolutely rocked. I would really like to see them pursue the Sir Mixalot song further than the tempting little morsel they delivered here. I look forward to seeing them headline their own show so I can see their full set.
I love seeing shows at La Zona Rosa. With its small indoor stage (air conditioned, a must), open air porch and awesomely stocked jukebox, it's a great little venue. Thanks go out to the Direct Events staff and Les Claypool for hooking us up with the photo credentials.