Our friend Mike Sherry attended last Saturday’s Oddity Faire date in Los Angeles and has filed this report complete with his amazing photos…
[All Words and Photos by Mike Sherry]
LA’s Wiltern Theatre, an art deco icon preserved & updated for rock shows, made a perfect venue to play host to the Oddity Faire, Les Claypool’s winter tour with a rotating cast of ‘odd’ supporting acts. This stop featured Saul Williams, Yard Dogs Road Show and locally-based Mutaytor, as well as between-set carnival acts and stilt-walkers roving the lobby.
The Yard Dogs feature former Frog Brigade guitarist Enor alongside a formidable ensemble of musical & dance talent. The live band adds to the delivery as the charades range through bizarre, comic and burlesque. This made for a natural pairing with The Mutaytor, another troupe fusing unique talents into a collective artistic force. While the Yard Dogs dazzled with sword-swallowing & feather dancing, Mutaytor thrilled with high-flying acrobatics, fire spinning/hooping and a just-as-sexy brand of Drop the Laundry. Oingo Boingo bassist Johnny Avila rocks deep grooves throughout as a trio of kit drummers, more percussionists, guitar & horn section are augmented by smartly sequenced electronica. Did I mention they hail from Burning Man?
Over three hours into the night the main event commences, and all the previous pomp is replaced by a simple stage riser for drummer Paulo Baldi and percussionist Mike Dillon, a chair for cellist Sam Bass (all three sporting identical fright masks) and a microphone set. After a short vamp Les comes out to join the three, his mood hard to gauge initially from beneath the Clockwork mask, but pretty quick the sure thump on the strings through Rumble of the Diesel predicted a solid set.
READ ON for more of Mike’s review and his incredible photography…
There were plenty of fresh tunes from the forthcoming Of Fungi and Foe album, as well as favorites like Long in the Tooth and David Makalaster I, which featured a sweet South Bound Pachyderm tease at the start. Sabbath’s Electric Funeral was a treat, although I had seen Les play it at the New Year’s Eve show. It helped demonstrate, though, how Sam Bass was laying down more aggressive supporting cello passages and pushing his tone with distortion, versus playing alongside the capable & badass guitar of Mirv.
As the night went on, Les seemed to relax and played better with each passing song. Of Whales & Woe being a highlight of slap machine groovery. Ding Dang offered a fine spotlight late in the show for Mike Dillon to reign insanity on the vibes, and amid the closer, D’s Diner, Les brought out bass compadre Lonnie Marshall to jam – and credited him with inspiration for the song - along with cohort Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello. Just one last bit of musical theatrics as a five-hour affair went out with a bang and a roar.