June 26, 2009
Who's Bad are a Michael Jackson tribute band. Sacklunch selected this show on June 24 as a sort of "fuck you" to Potsy and I because we were harassing him to make up his goddamn mind already and pick a show for his week. Little did he know that the messer would become the messee when we called his bluff and said yes to Who's Bad. And little did any of us know that the show would be even more tribute-y when Babystew Steve alerted us to Jacko's impending death on Thursday (Steve either has a TMZ RSS feed or a Michael Jackson Google News Alert).
And so here we are. This show review would, as I so eloquently put it, give Sacklunch an opportunity to show America how to grieve. Except Sacklunch went on vacation for a week so I have to do it. Not a totally unexpected development but galling nonetheless. The guy adds absolutely nothing to this enterprise except for giving us the opportunity to point to schlubby looking guys at shows and say, "hey Sack, look, it's your twin!"
Who's Bad modestly billed themselves as "one of the top Michael Jackson tribute bands in the country," which I think is fair. There's The White Gloves, operating out of Detroit, and Bubbles Loves Bananas, from St. Louis. And let's not forget Hyperbaric Chamber Music, who dominate the Florida Panhandle, and Webster's Unabridged, in Boise. The list goes on and on. I believe that last one actually features Marlon Jackson, so that's hard to top.
The highest praise I can give Who's Bad is that they really really made me miss the real thing, which is probably not quite what they were after. My biggest beef was with the dancing--the moves didn't snap the way they should have as our ersatz Jackson moved like an arthritic amputee. Dude, I can look past not totally sounding or looking like The King of Pop, but you should have the moves down. Not all of them, but just pick a few and master them.
Who's Bad was actually a passable funk band and the crowd seemed willing to overlook any faults (leave fault-finding to dicks like me) on this very special night. "Smooth Criminal" was pretty tight, but it would take a special level of ineptitude to fuck that one up. The rest of the songs came off slightly above average, with the exception of "Beat It," which sucked bad, and I mean bad. Do not modify that guitar riff in any way. As with the Jacko impersonator, I understand that you, sir, dear lead guitarist, are not Eddie Van Halen, but that does not entitle you to put your own "spin" on things. "Beat It" did provide one of the funniest moments I've had at a live music show in years, when the lead singer fell over an amp on the stage. I haven't laughed that hard since I attended the sneak preview of the hit movie Football In The Groin starring George C. Scott. Buh-buh-buh-but wait, there's even more...after he fell, he ran off the stage in a huff, and then a member of the audience sprinted across the stage and did this major stage dive, and it happened so fast that no one was ready for it, and nobody caught him. As I was already guffawing from the amp fall, I nearly died after I saw that. Seriously, the whole thing, from Jacko trip to stage dive faceplant, happened in about 10 seconds. I think I wet myself a little, I was laughing so hard. It reminded me of the criminally underrated movie Night Shift, when Michael Keaton leaps from a balcony at a sex club to try and save Henry Winkler from a beatdown, and no one catches him. Here's a clip--you have to wait until 7:15 to see the scene I'm talking about, but really you should watch the whole thing because it's totally full of funny scenes. Whatever happened to Michael Keaton, anyway? The guy used to make good movies. Here's a tip--if Who's Bad comes to your town, stay in and rent Night Shift instead. You do know it's a Ron Howard movie, right? Of course you do.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009