|ISSUE 9.2||SPRING/SUMMER 1999|
Flash ahead to 1999, with a CD in their pocket and the addition of a second guitarist, Hades seems to have reinvigorated and reinvented itself. Now, it's still not the circus some Clay shows became, but dang if there ain't still some mighty strong stage presence and powerful quirk pop emanating from nearly every tune. The start, stop and stutter work of lead singer six-stringer Jake is not just self-assured -- it demands attention. Q's bass has become solid and much more technically assured. Bim's drum work is right in time with it all and then some. There's just a lot going on back there. I'm still figuring out what Clark's (the new guitarist) actual role is, but that is by no means to belittle it. He's obviously a part of this new found power and assurance, adding another layer and providing further reinforcement for Jake's tenor whooping and shrieking.
As for further obligatory band comparisons: Jake is a bit of a Blue Oyster Cult fan. I've been singing Sweet songs to myself. There's a lot of Ric Ocasek and Pixies talk around recently. Pertinent or not, I'll just drop it there.
- Joel (August 30, 1999)
This is a really clean recording with plenty-o-echoing reverb on the vocals ... and perty much all the acoustic instruments (guitar, sax).
My opinion? Well played, easily digestible suburban-neo-hippy-pop. Too mellow and clean to be felt. When distortion, oddities or something else to shake things up are injected, they come off as more of an exercise than as an essential. Oh well.
- Joel (August 30, 1999)
Months ago Cringe was invited to review Shadowbox Cabaret's house band, Bill Who? Bill Who? plays something like four nights a week during short breaks in Shadowbox's regular theatrical/comedic productions. They are also featured about once a month in "Late Night with Bill Who?" music only performances. No one from Cringe could make the February 13 Late Night show, but I did catch the full theatrical spectacle of the cabaret a few nights before.
We arrived about 15 minutes early, but were probably about the last one's there. Well, we were forewarned that the pre-show festivities were part of the attraction. Raucous, flamboyant wait staff took our orders (a couple hot ciders and some bread with cheese). I coulda used a whiskey to help fight off the illness filling my head and chest, but beer was the only spirit of choice. I hate beer.
Like something out of a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening, the staff loudly and exuberantly announced to the entire crowd how many people at (I suspect) each table were "virgins." Out of the 8-10 people at our round, all -- save one -- were virgins.
Soon a little preshow 3-man "Chippendales" act took the stage. The show boys stripped down to their boxers, one of them being a bit removed from the accepted standards of "male dancer" in physique and undergarment choice. But that was the bit and who am I ta talk. In the end, he was left posturing and begging alone while the other two are dragged of the stage by adoring, horny "fans."
After a bit more of the seating area antics, the band and announcer took the left stage. It becomes clear that the wait staff, the band and the actors are essentially one in the same.
Suddenly warning lights and buzzers went of in my head. Thespians and rock? The thought of old moldy, overly animated, commercial cheese should have been in my head from the get go. Then again I actually have a certain affinity for musicals. Still, it didn't hit me until the band started.
Throughout the show, the band did several covers of which I think only one was from the last decade. Of course all of them had a sexual theme (Love in an Elevator - Aerosmith, Like the Way I Do - Melissa Etheridge, Carol King - Natural Woman, and more).
And it certainly can't help that Shadowbox does this particular show 4 nights a week for a few months at a time each year. One has to wonder how they keep it fresh -- or at least keep themselves convinced it's fresh. Or maybe freshness isn't their concern at all. All I know is that I'd get a bit frustrated around about the third week of a 4 shows a week run in the same place.
Yes, it was different. Yes, it was a bit risque. Yes, it was a bit like watching Saturday Night Live live -- maybe even better. Most of the pieces were entertaining and done well. Some of the characters were too familiar. Some of the pieces depended too much on the shock values of sex and obscenity. Great, I've seen plenty of this at my favorite bars, in life and even at Wexner Center. I'm not so easily shocked or entertained by this tactic -- though I let it bring a somewhat obligatory delirious fever smile to my face.
My general policy is to see a band at least twice before I do a review. I'm breaking that policy here. How am I handling it? Probably not very well. That's why there's a focus the Shadowbox Cabaret space and atmosphere. I can say that Bill Who? got their name from a local critic who evidently panned the act. The band's response to who wrote it: Bill Who? Maybe they'll change their name to Joel Who? after this ... or just start doing Billy Joel covers.
After the show, we left almost immediately. It had been a long day at work and the cheese bread and cider wasn't working as dinner. I went home, had some soup, did the Thursday night/Friday morning calendar fer Cringe then went to bed. I called in sick the next day and ended up sleeping for 45 of the next 72 hours. I feel better now, but I keep thinking I should change my boxers.
The word cabaret conjures up several thoughts: fancy, flashy, risque, cheesy, open, vaudeville, song and dance, entertainment, drinks and food. Shadowbox Cabaret's Sex at the 'box fulfills all these.
- Joel (August 30, 1999)
- penny pent (June 11, 1999)
- Dan Spitez (May 02, 1999)
- dave larosa (Apr 27, 1999)