Sean CroninFronted by Sherry Fraser, the Olympia, Washington-based band Two Ton Boa opened the evening with their unique brand of double-bassed and droning rock. However, Fraser did her best Grace Slick all evening, even covering "White Rabbit," but never really allowed herself to shine.
Sean CroninThe two-bass motif, like most of the band's presentation, felt forced. A variation from the norm to no discernible sonic advantage.
Sean CroninThe trashcan-lid cymbals were another example of this theme on variations. Beyond the initial, "Huh, those are trash-can lids," this quirk of outward image netted the act nothing.
Sean CroninWhen they added a bit of treble, the monotony of the drone ebbed a bit.
Sean CroninTen, nine ...
... eight, seven, six, five ...
Sean CroninIt is a credit to this scene, this town, that a lineup like this one can get together for an evening. From left: Anne Snyder (Dario Rosa) on bass, Evan Pollack on keyboards, Magicyclops, Number Three (Lion Sized, D. Biddle) on drums, Duncan Barlow (Lion Sized, D. Biddle) ripping robot-style on guitar.
I'm not sure whether the all-important beer can holder on the mic stand was a faithful Devo detail, but it was brilliant nonetheless.
Sean CroninWith Magicyclops front and center, Dev-Oh! rocked out faithful covers of some Devo classics.
Sean CroninThe initial excitement from the crowd when the band took the stage for the first and only time, sort of mirrored a typical New Year's Eve: the anticipation overshadowed the experience.
Sean CroninPlaying "Blockhead," Dev-Oh! brought the energy level up a notch, but throughout the night, something was missing.
Sean CroninThese pelvic thrusts notwithstanding, there was very little in the way of charisma coming from the stage.
Sean CroninThe tunes were played faithfully and executed well, but the stoic, machines-on-stage deconstructionist side of the Devo originals was taken a bit too much to heart.
Sean CroninThe chords were right, but the energy wasn't enough to really carry the audience through the set.
Sean CroninTalented musicians all, Dev-Oh! was a victim of the project. Great cover bands have all the time they need to hone their performance and get the stage chemistry right.
Sean CroninBut preparing something for a single ten-song set is a gamble I don't envy. You have one shot to get everything right. Pressure.
Sean CroninDev-Oh! ended up being less than the sum of its parts, as each player did well to nail the tunes.
Sean CroninBut it did get me to start thinking about Devo in their original context, imagining what it must have been like to be at one of those first shows in Ohio, watching those odd men react to the disco, glam and hair-rock that ruled the day.
Sean CroninIt must have been amazing. And if this performance -- years later, out of context, and performed for a single evening of parody entertainment -- can't live up to my expectations, maybe I need to adjust what I expect. Maybe a good New Year's resolution would be to enjoy these moments for what they're worth.