Photos by Vito Ingerto
Les Claypool is like the musical version of the Leatherman multi tool. The main weapon would be the alternative rock juggernaut Primus. Need a jazzy, improvisational apparatus? Brake out some Oysterhead, with Stewart Copland and Trey Anastasio. How about some spacey, psychedelic goodness? The Claypool Lennon Delirium utensil will fit the bill. Looking for a funk rock infusion? Check out Colonel Claypools Bucket Of Bernie Brains with Buckethead and Bernie Worrell. Hankering for some country fried jam band sounds? Keep on the lookout for an upcoming release with Billy Strings.
Harder to describe would be the arm of the gadget called Colonel Claypools Flying Frog Brigade. Founded in 2000 to play at the jammy Mountain Aire Festival, the original line up was an eclectic bunch that featured 2 members of Ratdog which cemented their jam band bonifides. But as the band took to the road, something weird happened. The band seemed to cast a wide net as far as audience goes. Dead dancing coexisted with mosh pits. Claypool tunes mixed with Pink Floyd albums. They even put out an album called Purple Onion. The current lineup includes some pretty impressive offspring, Harry Waters and Sean Lennon. And they brought their weirdness to the Palace Theatre Monday night.
First up on Monday night was The Budos Band. With a stage full of musicians, the band had a huge, retro analog sound. The horns and bongos were the stuff dreams are made of. Kinda Cream meets Chicago in a garage vibe. These guys could have definitely made a soundtrack to a 60’s movie Thrown in some face melting guitar for good measure. I loved every second of this set.
Colonel Claypool led the Brigade to the stage right around 9:30, and kicked the weirdness off with “Up On The Roof”. The current Fearless Flying Frog Brigade is comprised of Sean Ono Lennon on guitar, Harry Waters on the keys, Paulo Baldi on drums and Mike Dillon on various other percussion. The set was comprised of tunes from the Purple Onion album, Claypool Lennon Delirium, Primus and some Claypool solo stuff. The Budos Band horn section joined the band for a couple of tunes throughout the night.
But the highlight of the evening was the front to back performance of Pink Floyd’s Animals album. The set had the Palace mesmerized. Ironically, Harry Waters, Roger Waters son, handled the David Gilmore vocals, while crushing the keyboard parts of the album. And while the set definitely features Claypools bass gymnastics, Sean Lennon straight up smoked the Gilmore solos. Dillon, the only band member other than Claypool to appear on the Purple Onion album, added some tasty vibraphone into the mix. The Animals album is something like 45 years old, but this trippy ensemble made the music sound fresh.
The approximately 2 and a half hour set ended with Claypool going nuts on “Rumble Of The Diesel ” and “One Better” with the Budos Band horn section before the Brigade came back out for one last fuel packed jam. The band rounded out the evening with “Cosmic Highway”, sending the crowd out on the road satisfied.