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Archive for the ‘The Les Claypool Frog Brigade’ Category

[ATTENDED: August 31, 2016] The Claypool Lennon Delirium

2016-08-31 22.23.17I saw Primus back in 1990 or so.  I’ve been a fan ever since but I’ve never seen them live again.  In 2015, Primus was touring with Sean Lennon’s band Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (who are really good, too) but my schedule conflicted so I couldn’t go.  When I heard that The Claypool Lennon Delirium were playing in Philly, I snapped up tickets.

During the above tour, Les Claypool and Sean Lennon got together to make a song and they enjoyed playing so much that they made a whole album.  And it’s as trippy and weird, as you might expect.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them live.  I mean, it seemed like it would be an insane spectacle (Primus had recently toured Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which was a real spectacle).  In comparison to what I imagined the show would be like, it was pretty subdued.  The backdrop was three (non-changing) banners, and aside from switching guitars and basses a few times, there wasn’t a lot of shenanigans.  In fact, the usually loquacious Les barely said more than a few words the whole night.  When he first came out he said Hello Philly and commented that we were all staring at him.  And that was pretty much it.

Because it was all about the music.  And the music was really freaking good.  There was a ton of jamming–with each guy showing off.  Les was Les and Sean really wailed on his guitar and effects.  From the picture you can see what appear to be tablets in front of them.  Were they for lyrics or chords or were they playing Pokémon Go?  Who knows. (more…)

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nov 17SOUNDTRACK: THE LES CLAYPOOL FROG BRIGADE-Purple Onion (2002).

onionThis is the first and so far only studio album from the Les Claypool Frog Brigade (line up slightly different from the live albums).  I think it’s one of his best solo releases in terms of overall musical complexity.  The addition of Skerik on sax makes a world of difference to Les’ songs and even better is percussionist Mike “Tree Frog” Dillon on vibraphone–which adds a new level of depth to these songs.  Also having a backing vocalist seems to add even more to them.

Psychotic circus music opens the saga of “David Makalster.”  It’s a riff on the news (where everything’s exactly as it seems).  The chorus is a fun vibraphone filled section–cheerful and fake.  It’s a decent song.   In true Les fashion, he follows it up with a Part II later in the disc in which the truth of the unhappiness is revealed.  Between the two songs it’s 11 minutes long which is too much for this one conceit, although I do like the way the part II revisits the first song in a different way.

But there’s so much else that’s so good on the record.  Like “The Buzzards of Green Hill” which opens with a jaw harp and some cool bass.  It’s a simple up and down riff that is incredibly catchy.  Later it’s got some great guitar and horn solos.  “Long in the Tooth” sounds like a Primus song, but the crazy sax noises turn this into something else entirely.  “Whamola” is a cool song that features Les’ work with the whamola, a one string instrument that features prominently on the song–it’s like a viola that you can do bends on.  It’s a great jam with Fish from Fishbone on drums and Skerik’s crazy sax as well.

“Ding Dang” sounds like it would be a silly song but it actually attacks all forms of prejudice–racist, homophobic ignorance all gets taken to task and then put to a rather cheerful-sounding chorus.  There’s some wild solos on this in song too.   Tolerance is a good thing.

“Barrington Hall” is an interesting creeping sounding song with vibes and bowed bass.  It feels like a kind of silly horror movie song.

“D’s Diner” opens with some backward percussion.  It has a creepy sinister bass line and some crazy vocal all about a yummy dinner.  It features Gabby La La on sitar and Norwood Fisher from Fishbone on bass.  “Lights in the Sky is an atmospheric song which is a bit too long.  “Up on the Roof” has a great slapping bass thing going on and the vibes solo is wonderful.

“Cosmic Highway” ends the disc with a pretty lengthy jam.  It has some great solos from the various instruments–I actually would have preferred this as an instrumental–I think it would have removed the slower parts.  But it’s a fun, trippy album closer.

And after this, Primus would (briefly) reunite.

[READ: January 19, 2015] “The Alaska of Giants and Gods”

In this story (which I imagine is the beginning of a new novel from Eggers), Josie has packed her kids into a (cheap rented) R.V. and has taken them to Alaska.

Josie used to be a dentist.  She was sued by a woman who claimed that Josie should have seen the cancer in her mouth.  Josie was so disgusted, she threw up her hands and said to take everything.  Which the woman did.  She felt the lower forty-eight states were full of cowards and thieves so it was time to get out.

And yet when they crossed the border, the Alaska she imagined was nowhere to be seen–no magic, no pure air, just a regular old city. (more…)

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