The Grandmothers of Invention and The Magic Band review: Boffins were won over by eccentric keepers of the flame
Even the Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) boffins who made the pilgrimage to the Metro for this gig seemed unsure of exactly what was in store.
A few middle-aged men lingered outside, pointing at faces on the gig poster and guessing who was who and how this drummer, or that guitarist, slotted in to the decades-long revolving door of two notoriously temperamental frontmen, now both dead. For the music nerds and completists, the fun had already begun.
While the Grandmothers of Invention and the Magic Band - in Australia for Bluesfest - both feature original members, that brings no guarantee of original spirit.
Fronted by keyboardist Don Preston (who also sings Zappa's parts) and 80-year-old saxophonist Bunk Gardner, the two in patchwork Lurex jumpers, the Grandmothers played a set that was heavy on songs from the Mothers of Invention's 1966 debut Freak Out!, its precisely erratic free jazz and incandescent guitar shredding inciting hoots of joy, as did Preston's admission: “This music's hard.”
We were treated to the tongue-in-cheek schmaltz of You Didn't Try To Call Me, the explicitly political Trouble Every Day and a Who Are the Brain Police? dance contest, with the singer of Sydney band the Holy Soul, Trent Marden, volunteering some freaky moves onstage.
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