Photo: Tom Murphy The Pseudo Dates
The Pseudo Dates and teamAWESOME! Sunday, July 27, 2008 Lion’s Lair Better Than: The average benefit show put together to raise awareness.
I didn’t get to the Lion’s Lair in time for the drag show, but, frankly, drag shows aren’t my thing, so it’s just as well that people who are really into it got to enjoy it without my presence. Nonetheless, it was a benefit show to raise awareness of the demonstrations going on during the Democratic National Convention and the activities that Students for a Democratic Society (they’re not just at Berkeley anymore) were up to related to that whole week or so of chaos that’s going to land in our laps before we know it.
In the spirit of the show, each member of The Pseudo Dates were in drag, but “Harvey” (aka Suzi Allegra) was a little too convincing with her used-car salesman beard, Rip Taylor-esque wig and stoic mannerisms. It was like she was a method actor in that outfit and at times it was a little intimidating and even scary in the way that only someone who is completely off their rocker can be.
But none of that deterred from their performance and they played a nice slate of older material including “Wine & Coffee,” the rocking “Sleepy Shoes,” the Tin Pan Alley-ish “Goodbye Summer” and “You’ve Got Time.” They also interspersed their set with new songs that sounded like they’re moving their music in a direction more overtly psychedelic in the vein of garage rock bands on the first Nuggets compilation but, of course, losing none of their ability to inject it with a catchy flavor that makes their other material so worthwhile. I kept waiting for Allegra, I mean “Harvey,” to fall out of character but she never did, not even well after the show was over. Even Natalie Brazil and Jane Fate relented or didn’t bother with the method acting stunt but that just gave the show a surreal air that you don’t get much of in Denver.
Photo: Tom Murphy teamAWESOME!
TeamAWESOME! also played along with the drag theme of the night and Chuck Potashner had on a silver dress and all the nice stuff girls wear underneath but didn’t quite cut it as a woman otherwise. Anthea Osguthorpe looked like a guy out of a boy band on the keys and trumpet. Their new bass player looked like he was going more for a Miley Cyrus exercise outfit gone wrong look and Logan Corcoran could have come out of an old Olivia Newton John video.
This was a considerably leaner version of a band that can have in excess of eight members and it allowed them to be more focused and control their sound a lot better even though, let’s face it, one of the charms of this act is the fact that they are a little loose. This show was perhaps looser than some of their most recent high profile gigs (including opening for Presidents of the United States and a two night-stint in Boulder and Aspen as the warm-up act for Girl Talk). But they put a great deal of energy and passion into their performance and that makes up any other failings they might have had. Their set was a good mixture of older material and newer.
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Corcoran even played synthesizers for a couple of songs and engaged in a call and response musical screaming match with Potashner that might have been unsettling if it wasn’t so good -natured and obviously part of the music. Their rhythms were very on top of it for this show and Potashner showed great spirit and unbridled passion as the frontman while Osguthorpe managed to play synth and trumpet at the same time and yet sang on key, even when she pretty much screamed lyrics, throughout.
It’d been a while since I’d seen the band and while there were some rough spots, I think they’re definitely far more together than they’ve ever been, without compromising the sense of fun and innocence that is the core of their music. -- Tom Murphy
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I think SDS is one of the most important student organizations in the history of our country. Random Detail: At some point, Andrew Elkins and Diana Sperstad formerly of Games For May and As Seen on TV both came in drag and had those of us nearby cracking up with their antics. By the Way: Stick around for the “headlining” band, you might like them.
This is the twenty-second in a series of thirty consecutive shows that Tom Murphy is planning on attending. His whole idea is to prove that there's cool stuff going on any night of the week in Denver, if you bother to make any effort whatsoever to find it. He suggested naming this series, "This Band Could Be Your Life," a fitting designation to be sure. Since there's already a similarly titled book, however, we opted to file these entries under Last Night's Show -- you know, to avoid being sued an all. (Sorry, Tom.)