I learned a valuable lesson last weekend: Never, ever, ever go to Beerfest. Ever. As my lovely wife, my ever-patient son and I made our way through CityWalk on our way to Hard Rock Live to see David Lee Roth Nov. 12, we had to navigate through some incredibly long lines of people waiting for beer. When I figured out they were standing in these incredibly long lines for two ounces of beer, I was floored. The beer companies present were fine (I saw a Tiger Beer tent, and the Unique Beers people `Shipyard, etc.` were out there), but as much as I love beer, I can't imagine anything that would get me to stand in line for 90 minutes for two ounces of it.
Anyway, I had had my fill of Tiger Beer earlier in the day at the Chili Crab Festival down at Wall St. Plaza. Crab smothered in red-hot chili sauce really tastes good, but it's impossible to eat with your hands and a plastic fork, no matter how many $2 Tigers you drink. It was possibly the most inappropriate festival food ever, but that didn't stop me from plowing my way through three servings of it. The martial arts demonstrations, kickboxing and live music made for a pleasant diversion, but one hard-to-eat dish doesn't quite make for a festival, if you ask me.
Oh yeah, live music. That's what this column is about. Sorry. We only saw one live band at the Chili Crab Fest (Murphy Project), and they were OK in an anonymous-pop-rock-band-playing-outside-on-a-Saturday kinda way. Would have loved to see the Supervillains, but I had to save my kid's ears from the profanity they were sure to be filled with at the David Lee Roth show.
Diamond Dave was completely awesome; he's as hammy as ever, and whenever he remembered the words, he still managed to hit most of the notes. It didn't hurt that the drummer and lead guitarists were visual and stylistic doppelgängers for the Van Halen brothers, but Dave carried the show, trotting out the same old lines ("Did I fuck you?") that have stood him in good stead for nearly 30 (gulp!) years. Speaking of time flying: The one thing the 13-year-old Jason "Yeah, I saw the Diver Down tour" Ferguson never thought he'd see was David Lee Roth's bald spot. Now that I have, my inner child can officially be pronounced dead.
As I said in last week's Selections, Queen's A Night at the Opera is a super-gay album, despite (or perhaps foretelling) Wayne and Garth's love of "Bohemian Rhapsody." It's so gay that the Classic Albums Live crew had to bring along a woman to sing "Seaside Rendezvous" and "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" for their performance on Nov. 11. That woman, along with six other musicians, delivered a stunning rendition of the album, and I'd be lying if I said my now-dead inner child wasn't getting goose bumps when they lit into "Death on Two Legs." How on earth they managed to hit every note and capture every sound is still amazing, but not nearly as amazing as when "Freddie Mercury" muffed the lyrics for the second verse of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Dude, if you're gonna get any song perfect, that should be it.
It was a supreme disappointment to find that Molotov dropped off the "Rock en Orlando" bill at Hard Rock on Nov. 9. Apparently there were some contract "issues" between the band and the independent promoter who rented out the venue for the show. Oh well, Circo still put on a fine performance, mixing beefy, arena-punk volume with a vibe I can describe as nothing other than "new wave." They were good fun and much better than the listless pap of Jarabe de Palo, who reminded me of nothing more than the Dave Matthews Band. It was disappointing to see two bands with nothing in common other than their language sharing a stage; it seems that because the Hispanic audience in Orlando is so starved for live music, promoters don't bother constructing complementary bills. Spanish-speaking rock groups fill up venues throughout Texas and Southern California and get to play with similar bands why is it such a rare occurrence here?
On a final, nonmusic note, I made it out for Bill Maher's performance at the Bob Carr on Nov. 10. The guy's funny, but 90 minutes of Bush-bashing (plus about 30 minutes of nonpolitical material) was a little much, even for someone like me who's mystified that 35 percent of the American public still approve of Chimpy. Maher's set was a lot of preaching to the choir, and, as my friend said, political comedy ain't what it used to be, especially when the jokes write themselves. That said, any satirist who can incorporate anal rape into a riff about the FDA is my kind of satirist.
This week's make-your-own podcast:
Skinny Puppy: "200 Years"
Kaiser Chiefs: "Every Day I Love You Less and Less"
Seu Jorge: "Mania de Peitão"
Stereolab: "High Expectation"
Slowdive: "Golden Hair"
Blur: "Oily Water"
Tito Puente: "Espresso Por Favor"
The Plant Life: "The Last Song"
Mudhoney: "In 'n' Out of Grace"
Cromagnon: "Ritual Feast of the Libido"
Otis Redding: "These Arms of Mine"
Wires on Fire: "Daisy"
The Apartments: "Mr. Somewhere"
Franz Ferdinand: "Evil and a Heathen"