Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dudley Manlove Quartet

The End of Irony
Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA

When we walk in to the Sunset, the first thing I think is "who are all these OLD people?" and then I remember, oh right - THEY ARE ME. Tonight the crowd is split in half between those of us who have been attending Dudley shows since the mid 90s and the younger set who are pretty much replicas of us ten years ago, except with a more attuned fashion sense and better hair.

I will always think of this decade as the one where we all got over ourselves and started listening to Steve Miller again. Finally freed from the shackles of hip, we can admit that we know all of these songs. The more charming audience members sing blatantly incorrect lyrics at top volume, and the serious people make sure you know that they know both the verse AND THE BRIDGE to the Rick Astley song while you only know the chorus, chump. (Hang on - you know the bridge of this song? Really? Why?) Two people in front of me do the bump for nearly a full song and keep both drinks intact. This audience is PROFESSIONAL.

Dudley Manlove plays several medleys of songs (Abba into Boz Scaggs into Tom Jones, for example). While many of us have heard these numbers dozens of times, the inherent promise of a medley is the element of surprise for new listeners. Singers pause briefly but dramatically before the next tune to invoke maximum delight from the crowd. But what happens when the crowd anticipates the change and jumps loudly to the next song before the band gets there? They steal the thunder, that's what.

Once you've been playing mostly the same material for many years, your regular audience will get to know your setlist, request songs that they KNOW you play, and hold you to a standard that may get annoying. Instead of the band owning the audience, the audience feels a sense of ownership over the band. I don't know how they do it, but Dudley Manlove turns what could be a tedious rehashing of songs into something energetic and joyful for both the regulars and the new people in the crowd. I'm telling you. Watch the video.

It's been ages, so I am thrilled to see a real live sexygroovedance (the slow shimmy of a girl who dances for the express purpose of being noticed by one or more band members). At first I think this gal is putting on a show for Paul, but after a while I come to think that she is trying to look beautiful for her friends so that together they can be The Beautiful Girls. And they are.

Later in the evening one of the Beautiful Girls gets repeatedly jostled by a boisterous dancing gal behind her. At first she tries to move out of the way, but that doesn't work. So she accidentally/on purpose elbows her in the back, you know, just to create some space. I instantly have a TOTAL flashback to doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING at a Dudley show at the OK Hotel circa 1996. And now we are full circle. And it is good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey that was me....

7:19 PM  

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