Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Less shock, more rock: Mack Messiah’s showman ruins the show

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Maybe you have to be high or just extremely intoxicated to enjoy a Kenny Crucial performance. Unfortunately, I was neither of these things when I saw Mack Messiah at the Drunken Unicorn on Wednesday, May 21.

Despite his status as a local music icon, there was nothing profound or amazing about Crucial’s performance, and his attempts to be the intense rock star figure made him look insane, and not in a good, crazy rock and roll way. A heavy air of unease jostled everyone in the room. The typical hipsters were there, coolly sipping their PBR’s, only this time they were clutching them tightly with fear. Instead of dancing to the music they looked confused and uncomfortable, shifting from side to side, trying unsuccessfully to nod their heads to the Casio beat.

Looks of sheer disbelief and confusion spread throughout the room as Crucial resembled a deranged mole from the “Whac-a-Mole” game at Chuck E. Cheese … the one you’re supposed to bop with a mallet. Veins bulging and eyes wide, instead of popping out of a hole, he was popping up and down behind his music stand.

The music was not bad, and I actually enjoyed myself more when Crucial wasn’t screaming/singing. Their sound was a mutant hybrid of glam rock, psychedelic pop, and I would assume funk since one of the songs was titled “Funky Like Your Daddy.” It would have been fun and easy to dance to if everyone wasn’t so focused on Crucial, wondering what crazy thing he was going to do next. The saving grace of the performance was 18-year-old bass, keytar and omnicord player Monika Julien, who stood out even above the supposedly legendary Crucial. Julien met Crucial at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin. According to her, the two hit it off and soon began practicing together. Wednesday was the first time Julien had performed with Mack Messiah, but she has been a member of local experimental hardcore band When Rocky Beat the Russian for about a year now.

Fiercely hunched over while playing her omnichord, Julien was really into what she was doing and it was obvious through her prevailing sound and the modest smile on her face. Not modest at all, Crucial was really into what he was doing as well; however, he was obviously more into himself. Instead of a modest smile, he screamed at the audience and ended the show with his fists pumping in the air shouting, “Bow to me!”

Red faced and eyes full of rage, he no longer resembled the deranged but harmless Chuck E. Cheese mole. In fact, he suddenly looked more like the devil himself and after that little escapade, the band might best be served by calling itself Mack Lucifer.

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