Weekend Agenda: Oct. 17-18
Bands made up of cartoons and robots square off against Andrew Bird
Metal dudes who can laugh at themselves are a rare breed; for all the serious-face doom-and-gloom posturing, metal is a pretty nerdy genre, what with the evil imagery, the long hair, the silly-looking fonts—it’s about two steps away from a Magic: The Gathering meet-up. But that’s what makes Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse so cleverly tongue-in-cheek; Dethklok, the show’s cartoon band (fronted in person by co-creator/vocalist-guitarist Brendon Small), encapsulates everything that’s absurd about the genre, but with a lighthearted wit that comes off as pure fandom tribute. Tourmates Mastodon, Converge, and High On Fire make up a fairly weighty bill on their own, each group an essential listen within their own varied metal subgenres. The tour visits The Rave/Eagles Ballroom Sunday.
On the opposite end of the volume spectrum is Andrew Bird, who continues his two-night stand tonight at The Pabst with St. Vincent providing support. His classical training and considerable technical skills aside, Bird attacks his elaborately crafted pop collages with a puckish sense of experimentalism. Live, Bird creates unique sounds via his use of stomp-box samplers, which loop and layer pizzicato and bowed violin, guitar, and his own whistling into a lush sonic tapestry—although Bird played it somewhat safe with Noble Beast, a recent collection of pleasant indie-folk ballads that seem curiously reluctant to wander outside the lines for such a masterful scribbler. But as with anything Bird, there are still some surprises nested in there.
Jay Vance, a.k.a. JBOT, has taken the idea of a human and his all-robot backing band and run with it; he’s been dominated by his mechanical masters in Captured! By Robots now for more than a decade. Although the cast remains the same, Vance keeps his robot shtick fresh by changing the story for nearly every tour. During the Bush years, Vance performed a presidential tribute where the ’bots were dressed as various members of the GOP and performed songs like “The Dubya Dub.” This year’s theme: Get motivated! It’s a call-out to those hit by hard economic times to buck up, get inspired, and maybe even dance a little. Captured! By Robots plays Sunday at Cactus Club.