Review: Mojo Nixon at Lion's Lair, 4/14/12
"Rick Santorum can suck my dick!" was the chorus Mojo Nixon got the crowd to chant as a line in an extended version of "You Can't Kill Me." But everything was an extended version out of an eleven song set. With just his Guild electric and more playfully rambunctious attitude than most punk rockers these days and more genuinely iconoclastic. At the beginning of his set, Mojo came through the crowd to the stage, raised his hands in greeting and went straight into "Debbie Gibson is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child." Some people would save their most well-known songs for later in their set, but oh no! Not Mojo.
In the middle of "Louisiana Liplock," Mojo laid down a ferocious guitar solo like some kind of rockabilly thing gone off the rails. Then he laid into the absent guest of "honor," Tim Tebow: "Ladies and gentlemen. Tim Tebow has never been laid. Tim Tebow has never been drunk. Tim Tebow has never had his dick sucked. I, Mojo Nixon, will suck Tim Tebow's dick to send him down the right path." Something like that. Someone in the audience, forgetting this part, later asked if he would be the one to suck Tim Tebow's dick. Lady, he already said he would.
Mojo Nixon at Lion's Lair
For the next song, Mojo told us he would need some audience participation. He pointed at a guy in the audience and said he would fuck him "right in the ass" if we didn't sing along. And admonished us to not do that just to see Mojo's blue-veined dick going back and forth. Then going into detail how it's like a beer can cut in half. Hey, it's part of the show. And no, we didn't see any of that, because the audience actually did sing along to "Tie My Pecker to My Leg." At the end, Mojo treated us to some more of his fluidly powerful guitar work and told us it was, "Hillybilly Hendrix."
During "Don Henley Must Die," Mojo said, "I'm not very good, but I'm very loud," in reference to his guitar playing. Yeah, scratch the "I'm not very good part." Most everyone in the crowd sang along to the choruses of "Don Henley Must Die." Mojo followed this up with "The Ballad of Country Dick" -- the homage to his late friend, and Beat Farmers drummer, Country Dick Montana, who died in 1995 while on stage. At the end, Mojo said, "Let's hear it for Tim Tebow getting his dick sucked by a pre-op tranny!"
"Hamlet Chicken Plant Disaster" had a funny title, but the song was a pretty serious dig at corporate greed, in a way that dispensed with any and all platitudes, for what was probably the most serious and earnest performance of the night. But Mojo followed this up by telling us, "Me and Country Dick were so high we thought we wrote this song." Of course it was: "Are You Drinking With Me, Jesus?" Some guy in the crowd had been crying out for this song half the night, so he must have left the show happy.
Mojo Nixon at Lion's Lair
After "You Can't Kill Me," Mojo played "Elvis is Everywhere," and at one point, he asked if we could name the one person who has no Elvis in him? People shouted out different names, but it was a hilariously obvious name for this night: "Tim Tebow has no Elvis in him." Then Mojo got us all to sing the chorus of the song, and the show would have ended there. But he came back for an encore of a song that "used to be called Burn Down the Malls but now it's called Wall Street Can Suck My Dick," with the lyrics "appropriately" changed. In an hour, Mojo Nixon embodied the spirit of rock and roll more surely than most people alive ever could.
Sputnik Slovenia at Lion's Lair
The night started off with Sputnik Slovenia (aka Jim Yelenick). Who wears his own band's T-shirt to his show? Many people on tour without laundry facilities and time available. But also, someone like Jim who probably should be in comedy, which he informed us, he might do it when he turns seventy. He began by telling us that if the show was going to be anything like what he heard about the previous night's show, there might be group sex, but, he noted, "I prefer to watch."
The music started with a version of the song from Gilligan's Island, and many people joined in. It was kind of an Irish drinking song version, appropriately enough. But the hijinks were far from over. "London Calling" got the same treatment. "This song was written by my ex-girlfriend," announced Yelenick. "Before she became a skinhead."
Could it be?
Yes! Yelenick performed his version of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears, only he changed lyrics, as he did with most songs during this show, including the end where he sang, "Closed fist punch me in the face one more time." When some people made some humorously snide remarks on the song, he responded, "She had a right hook to die for."
During a piss-take rendition of "I Got Erection" by Turbonegro, Yelenick yodeled a bit and told us, "That's my Slim Cessna." For Van Halen's "Ice Cream Man," Yelenick dipped into "Hound Dog," and then blended both songs together for an absurd mash-up of the two in the way only Yelenick even could.
For the Zappa cover, Yelenick shouted out, "I love you Whitney" as a quick aside. Yes, it was "Bobby Brown," but the wonderful bad taste is part of what makes Yelenick so entertaining. For Madonna's "Holiday," he did it fairly straight and then brought in a line from "Holiday In Cambodia," and then, at the end, he changed the lyric to, "I smoked pot with Pol Pot," followed by the rapid vocals at the end, "smoke pot with Pol Pot."
Pointing to his T-shirt, Yelenick said he was going to cover a song by his own band, Pitch Invasion, and he did "Peeping Tom." Of course, it was a lot less punk than the original. And so was the lounge version of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice." Of course Yelenick was going to take his comedic scalpel to John Denver, and "Country Roads" had a line that was changed to, "Country roads, take me home, to the lands where I belong. Your vagina, I'm gonna mount ya mama."
During "White Man in Hammersmith Palais," Yelenick put in some commentary about how West and East Colfax were scarier than the whole British Navy. Then, even without chickenwire to protect him and despite playing more than both kinds of music, Yelenick played "Rawhide." He followed this up with a pretty straightforward "Police and Thieves" and "La Bamba," except for the latter he injected references to Casa Bonita.
Yelenick then told us that if it hadn't been for the three chords that appeared in every song written by the Irish he probably wouldn't be playing music. So naturally he did his own version of "The Wild Rover" and made reference to one of the people involved in the Lion's Lair: "I won't play for Tony Meggit anymore." The set ended with an irreverent cover of "Blitzkrieg Bop" in which Yelenick sped it up, slowed it down and changed his accents in singing. But Yelenick managed to tag on to the end of it a bit of "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen starting with the line referencing Mojo Nixon.
Personal Bias: Ever since hearing "Elvis is Everywhere" sometime in the late '80s, I've been a Mojo Nixon fan.
Random Detail: Ran into Jeremy Maclean of Action Friend at the show.
By the Way: Someone should reissue the old Mojo Nixon albums.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.