Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Faun Fables, Dresden Dolls Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Faun Fables, Dresden Dolls Radio Radio Friday, March 12 For a night of compelling, even disturbing entertainment, it’s hard to top Friday’s three-fer at Radio Radio in Fountain Square. Theatrical avant-rock collective Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is bringing its horror show back to town, with special guests Faun Fables and the Dresden Dolls. The Oakland-based headliner has developed a significant herd of local devotees with theatrical live shows that combine intricate, dynamic music with creepy costuming and vocal role-playing. Fronting the act are guitarist Nils Frykdahl, violinist Carla Kihlstedt and bassist Dan Rathbun, who also plays an assortment of bizarre homemade instruments that tend to involve piano strings, pedals and thick blocks of wood. Frykdahl and Rathbun gained notoriety in the ’90s with a similarly unusual outfit called Idiot Flesh. The classically trained Kihlstedt’s resume includes work with Tom Waits and Fred Frith. Found-object percussionist Moe Staiano and drummer Matthias Bossi provide rhythm that shifts without warning from one off-balance time signature to another. The nearest tag one could hang on this outfit is prog rock, given that much of the material is built around elaborate precision riffing. The mood can shift abruptly, however, to eerily gentle interludes or harrowing blasts of noise and growling. Sleepytime has joined the Web of Mimicry label roster and is soon to issue a follow-up to the 2001 album Grand Opening and Closing. Faun Fables, on the other hand, has a sound that is less abrasive, more sparse and reserved, though just as dark and evocative. Driven by vocalist Dawn McCarthy with help from Sleepytime’s Frykdahl, the duo recently signed to the Drag City label and released its new Family Album. Aptly named, Faun Fables’ music seems to dwell in some magical, medieval forest. Against a minimalist background of acoustic string and wind instruments, McCarthy sings and chants in a voice that falls somewhere between Nico and Grace Slick and is frequently multitracked into ghostly choirs. The story-like tunes — McCarthy calls her art “songtelling” — unfold like little bits of Nordic mythology. Also a duo are the Dresden Dolls, voted last year in Boston Magazine as the city’s best live band. Pianist/vocalist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione are an antimatter reflection of the White Stripes, playing a sexually charged, cabaret-influenced music that draws comparisons to P.J. Harvey and theater composer Kurt Weill with equal frequency. Admission is $10 and doors open at 8 p.m. for the 8:30 show Friday at Radio Radio, 1119 E. Prospect St. The evening was organized by local promoter Nick Ohler’s Mythopeic Industries, which also is hosting a March 28 show at the same club featuring Skeleton Key, Cheer Accident and the Zzzz’s.

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