Outside of the Ogden last night, there were a few punks sporting foot-high Mohawks and wearing studded leather jackets standing next to hippies and guys wearing in vintage suits and a gal in fur lined jacket. And that was only a taste of what was inside. It might have been one of the most insanely eclectic groups of people to have ever gathered in the Ogden Theatre, or any other local venue for that matter.
It's a testament of just how far the Yard Dogs Road Show's fan base spreads, but it's not entirely surprising since the Yard Dogs themselves are a pretty damn eclectic group of folks as well. And there was so much going on, both visually and musically, during the troupe's hour-and-a-half set that a lot of it's a blur and probably one of the bigger mindfucks since Of Montreal played the Ogden two years ago on its Skeletal Lamping tour.
Combing vaudeville, burlesque, dancing girls, sword swallowing, magic, music and a whole lot more, the Yard Dogs create a sort of multi-colored experience on par with mushroom high that still sticks around a long time after the show. Hell, I still get flashbacks from the Yard Dog's sold-out Bluebird show two years ago. A few songs into the Yard Dogs set, its last show of the tour, accordionist Sansa Asylum sang "Swept Across the Sea," which recalled Rain Dogs-era Tom Waits, as did a few other songs the group played over the evening. At times energetic horn-heavy hobo rock backed up whatever performer took the spotlight. Other times, the band slowed things down a bit, like on "Bokonon" or "All the Beautiful Ladies," both sung wonderfully by Sheah.
By the time guitarist Eenor Wildboar asked, "Who wants to take a trip to space?" we'd already seen a Vegas-style showgirl act, two gals dressed up like wind-up dolls, Tobias the Mystic Man swallow not only a sword but the leg of a chair and a glowing red stick, and a 1920s-inspired feather dance. After a mind-expanding half hour or so, who wouldn't want to take a trip to space? Wearing a Ziggy Stardust-inspired suit, Eenor blasted off on his Flying V, soloing like a madman and then the lights went down and tiny green lasers lit off his suit, guitar and hair. It was surreal, man. Completely surreal.
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While it was it hard to top the crazy-ass show, the rest of the show was equally as stunning. Sansa Asylum and the three gals from the Black and Blue Burlesque did a tropical burlesque number about Pineapple Land, followed by Lily Rose Love singing "Live the Life," Guitar Boy, a fantastic burlesque take on carousel horses and an amazing finale of white feathers, jewels and confetti.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: No matter how hard you try, you'll never forget a Yard Dogs show.
Random Detail: The Yard Dogs founder Eddy Joe Cotton is a Denver native.
By the Way: The crowd went absolutely batshit for the Santa Cruz-based energetic folky blues trio Devil Makes Three.