Tim and Eric Awesome Tour, Great Job!

awsometourflyer08You never know how comedy that gets its start either on TV or in film will translate to a stage show. But then, few shows — and, actually, few comedies — are like the work of Tim and Eric, who bring their live show to Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution on Sunday.

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim got their start with the Cartoon Network Adult Swim show “Tom Goes To The Mayor”, which starred the duo in the titular roles — Tim as Tom, the hapless dreamer; Eric as the Mayor, who always ended up destroying Tom’s dreams.

This in turn led to the anarchic, psychedelic and altogether unhinged “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”, also on Cartoon Network. More of a sketch comedy show, Tim and Eric continued building a huge cult following.

Expect the same kind of off-kilter weirdness with their live show — also featuring Doug Lussenhop as DJ Douggpound and possibly other guests. Fans of the show will likely be thrilled. Or confused. Or thrilled to be confused.

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Showtime!: Kings of Leon/BRMC/The Features @ Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale

First of all, I hate when they don’t allow cameras at a show. I don’t know whether it was in one of these bands’ riders or it’s a standing rule at Revolution, but I never saw what sense it made.

Hence, no photos from this show.

The good news is that this show — which was outside, while Thursday’s show was indoors — was blessed by some of the best weather South Florida’s had in months. And that made it easier to endure a three-band bill.

Now, these were three bands I happen to like, but I don’t care if R.E.M. shows up with Radiohead and Guster, I’m going to be suffering if it’s in a club. I’m not exactly a kid.

That said, I can’t say there was necessarily a bad moment during the show. Headliner Kings of Leon — and there was more than a little shock among the group I went with that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was opening for the Kings — showed they earned that status by getting the crowd whipped into a frenzy with a good mix of songs from their three albums.

However, this is what I was expecting:

Kings of Leon

Long hair, right? (note Caleb Followill, the band’s lead singer, second from right)

This is what I saw:

Kings — short hair

Wha’ppen?

They still sounded as if they had the long hair associated with their modern-but-Southern sound. Most of the songs had quick tempos — and boom, mosh pit! — but still had Caleb’s growly twang, unmistakably Southern.

The Followills — brothers Caleb, Jared (bass) and Nathan (drums), and cousin Matthew (guitar) — are as tight as a duck’s ass, though Caleb clearly wasn’t happy with something on stage: “Are you guys havin’ fun tonight? (cheer!!) Well, I’m not! But I am getting drunk, so that’s something!”

If drink fueled the Kings’ performance, antipathy seemed to do the same for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It appeared the three men in the band — guitarist Peter Hayes, bassist Robert Levon Been and drummer Nick Jago — had little interest in talking with one another, focusing instead on delivering a blistering set.

BRMC

Most of the set came from the band’s latest album, Baby 81, generally considered the least of BRMC’s four LPs. But its original-BRMC-sound-meets-Love-and-Rockets vibe did seem to work well for the most part. I thought “666 Conducer” was a high point of the show — but I also rather enjoyed hearing “Ain’t No Easy Way Out”, their only nod to Howl, their shocking (and, in my opinion, very successful) shift into an Americana band. I only wish they would’ve broken out  “Shuffle Your Feet”, but I gather they’re trying to move away from that sound, as Jago, who didn’t play on the Howl sessions, has a fuller role in BRMC again.

It was very exciting for me to see The Features, a band from Tennessee that I figured I might not get the chance to see. Despite having one of the best albums from 2004, Exhibit A, Universal Music dropped the band.

Features

But the band persevered, even when their original keyboardist left. They picked up a new keyboardist — and considering the huge role keyboard instruments play in The Features’ sound, it was a big-time move — released the Contrast EP on their own dime and starting to build their audience on the road.

The Features’ set was all too brief, hitting high points from both discs. Not everyone gets into lead singer Matt Pelham’s quavering vocal, but I think it works with their songs full of what feels like nervous energy. (Plus Matt seems like a hell of a nice guy, as I chatted with him afterwards while buying a T-shirt.)

Showtime!: Mute Math/Eisley @ Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale

It’s difficult to relay a concert by Mute Math without resorting to onomatopoeia: Smash! Boom! Crash! Oh!

The quartet from New Orleans has gained its audience mostly on the backs of its live performances – which by no means belittles its creative output. Mute Math knows how to deliver it.

And that delivery is instant – one look at how these guys crawl, flip and fly all over the stage and the energy can’t help but be felt. The near-capacity crowd at Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution was absorbing it, and throwing it back just as much.

The boys in Mute Math are crowd-pleasers – they didn’t force the audience to wait for their most recognizable song, they came right out and cranked “Typical” after opening with the percussive instrumental “Collapse”.

Mute Math 1

(Apologies for the photos: They’re off a cell phone…)

Suitably enthused, the audience embraced Mute Math from there – not that there was any doubt from the word go. There are few bands that exhibit Mute Math’s kind of energy, both in its songs and in its stage work.

In both cases, the energy emanates from drummer Darren King, a frenetic sticksman who set the show’s pace at the very start: After putting on his headphones, he literally strapped them on by wrapping them around his head in gaffer’s tape.

Mute Math doesn’t back away from King’s important role. His kit is placed at the front of the stage, and many of the songs seem to be built with his strong work in mind. King is a showman the way few drummers have even dreamt, at times flying over his kit to play cymbals or even climbing onto keyboardist/lead singer Paul Meany’s well-worn Rhodes with bass drum in hand to get the crowd even more riled.

In turn, though, the rest of the band doesn’t suffer in King’s presence. Meany is a very strong frontman who doesn’t have “lead-singer disease” – he’s affable and fun, but he shares the spotlight with his other bandmates. Roy Mitchell-Cardenas not only was a very solid bassist, he helped out with drumming and even took center stage with, of all things, a double-bass solo on “Stare At The Sun”. Guitarist Greg Hill is the band’s soundmaster – attacking an assortment of pedals and keyboards in a way that rivals Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood; if Hill gains Greenwood’s experience there, he could lay down some serious sonic tableaus.

You’d think that by comparison, opening band (in sequence only) Eisley – with their haunting, sister-driven harmonies and more subtle approach – would suffer. But for at least some members of the crowd, I’ll bet an Eisley song pops into their head a day or two from now.

Eisley

It’s because no one quite sings the way the sisters DuPree do – recalling Fleetwood Mac at its height (singing Christine McVie’s songs – check out “Ten Cent Blues” for a real strong comparison), but with those well-placed harmonies throughout. Sometimes, the Tyler, Texas quintet can come out sounding downright eerie, proving they were an excellent choice to sing the theme song to The Invasion, even if the movie was an utter bomb.

Having seen them twice, the only real problem I’ve encountered is that they really haven’t played in front of their own kind of crowd – in both cases they opened for a high-energy band: Hot Hot Heat, then Mute Math. Not to say the crowds in both cases couldn’t embrace Eisley’s subtleties and gorgeous songwriting, but more likely they simply weren’t in the mood to do it. Maybe a bill with Fountains of Wayne, Crowded House or even Eels would be a better fit.