When New Times spoke with Les Claypool last month, he said the live experience of his Duo de Twang was "more of a hang than a show." The man does not lie.
With the house lights set down low and a campfire with artificial orange embers below faux logs, Les Claypool and Bryan Kehoe walked on to Revolution Live's stage Thursday night clad in cowboy hats and many layers of clothing.
As they sat in chairs and picked up their bass and guitar Claypool addressed the full crowd, "Welcome to the campfire. Feel free to roast your s'mores or whatever you got." What the crowd had by the smell of things is now legal in the state of Colorado, and hopefully it relaxed them, because midway through the first song, a speaker blew with a deafening thud.
As a techie solved the audio problem Claypool calmed the crowd with his trademark humor, "I don't know how that was for you, but I almost shit myself."
Laughs followed by Claypool going into a rendition of "Pure Imagination" from the 1971 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was obvious anything might happen this evening.
The opening band should have prepared us for that possibility.
Reformed Whores are two women with the prettiest Southern accents fit into yellow and blue dresses who proceed to dive into songs with subject matters so raunchy they would make Lil Wayne blush. Katy Frame plays accordion and guitar while Marie Cecile Anderson has the ukulele.
They harmonize with great femininity, obscuring or perhaps highlighting the songs absurdly being about "tiny Tic-Tacs for titties." Stephen Colbert would be proud of how they never once broke character, not even in their final song about women defecating, titled "Girls Poop Too" where they show off their beatboxing skills, making fart noises.
After that, Les Claypool's Duo De Twang's random quips about Swamp Apes seemed the height of sophistication. Claypool is known more for his musicianship than his jokes. Humor though is omnipresent in his work. He rose to fame in the '90s with his band Primus with hit songs like "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and "My Name Is Mud" although they are probably best known for singing the opening theme song for South Park.
Once you hear Claypool's voice, you will never forget it. It's instantly recognizable by its baritone goofiness. That goes double for his bass playing. If Claypool has a superpower, it's that, armed solely with a bass (and in this instance a kick drum and a companion on guitar), he can make a band sound huge, filling the room with a full sound. If Claypool has a second super power, it's the ability to make every song, no matter the song's genre or origins, sound like the same song.
So as the night grew later, and the two hour set went deeper, the songs they covered became more and more unlikely. From The Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive" to Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box" to a rendition of Dick Dale's surf classic "Pipeline," each song became fully Claypool's. He effortlessly twangified them all acting like it was no big deal. This was after all a hang, and not a show.