Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Residents Come To Turner Hall Milwaukee

The Residents Turner Hall
The Residents came to Milwaukee last Sunday night. This was my first time seeing the group live. As I felt that it might be the last tour for the original members, I thought that I better get on it. After all, the Residents have been around since the 1960’s. For those of you who are not familiar with the art collective, I suggest that you check out this Residents link.
When did I get the itch? It was back in 1981, when they released Mark Of The Mole. I had asked for the album as a Christmas gift from my parents. (Pretty cool parents, I must say.) After pulling out the vinyl I put on a pair of headphones and started to play it, while others were still unwrapping their gifts. I was 16 years old at the time, but the album still had a huge effect on me. The songs were almost frightening. Mark of the Mole had a theme. It was all about the struggle of the Mole People, and their war with the “Chubs.”

After Mark Of The Mole, I went backwards in the Residents timeline, and picked up Third Reich “N” Roll. The album came out in 1976, and was labeled as a “parody” of American pop music. I found it to be quite serious music. Perhaps I found it serious because the songs that they chose to parody were musical numbers that were (by 1982) overplayed “Muzak.” It doesn’t take much to turn a happy tune into a haunting, freak out of sound. That’s what the Residents did to so many numbers on the Third Reich album.

The Turner Hall performance featured three “band” members: Randy, Chuck and Bob. Their props and set were quite stripped down. I was a bit disappointed considering that I had heard so much about their previous efforts. I won’t spoil it for those of you still hoping to catch the band on this current tour. It was strange enough just to see the group do their thing. I don’t really know if stage props were necessary. My only complaint: They should have turned up the volume

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