Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday Night Review: Awesome Car Funmaker with Cealed Kasket

In a stunning display of the diversity of audiences the Union Terrace can draw, Cork and Bottle String Band played their brand of Midwest bluegrass while the number of paper crown wearing, enthusiastic metal fans increased. "That's one hell of a mixture, isn't it?" one member said to me. "Bluegrass, then metal."

Except these fans weren't all metal fans. Some were just fans of comedic musical theatre. Not everyone there knew what Cealed Kasket was all about.

Around the set break, members of both bands arrived in a few cars with their backseats packed full of the standard materials for set-up: Guitar, Bass, Drums, fog machines, plastic swords, extra burger king crowns and an extra helping of wigs and makeup. They came looking for me. In a casual, unassuming and friendly manner, they gave me a few hand shakes and took off in search of Shwarma, although they came back with a disappointing substitute of Jimmy John's.

Certainly, band members with such a happy go-lucky nature couldn't be that volatile or insane on stage, could they? The man who shook my hand with a good natured grin couldn't turn into a blood-drinking, devil-worshipping, heavy metal monster in less than two hours, could he?

Sure he could. If he's a good actor. And theatrics was certainly the name of the game.

Awesome Car Funmaker was up first , although they took enough time getting there. The band showed a 7-minute recast of Scooby-Doo with ACF (quite similar to this video) in the role of those "meddling kids" and Cealed Kasket as the oft-uncovered "ghost." It was humorous in as much as it was cheesy and poorly produced (and the band knows it), but it did cause some groans when the bass of the movie's music shook the terrace every now and then.

Groans turned to cheering when finally ACF took the stage.

For those who have Awesome Car Funmaker enough times, the novelty seemed only to delay the main attraction. However, the vast majority went right to the front to partake in the pop-metal leanings of this band of Madison regulars. On studio recording, they sound like any other band of pop-rock purveyors with a sense of humor, such as OK Go. Their live sound is far more electric and comes off with more nods to over-the-top hard rock than a studio recording would suggest.
Their onstage personality comes close to that of the Hives - the band constantly trumpets their own name as if they were from the great nation of Awesome Car Funmaker, rather than just a band. Guitarist and Bassist leap between the stage with the agility and grace of ballet dancers during the start to their set. Needless to say, they have more energy to wear out a hyperactive child in minutes.

In this lovely picture, lead singer Ryan Corcoran explains to the audience, "In metal, this means "I love you." During over moments of crowd participation, ACF went into the audience with every mobile instrument possible during solos.

Even Brendan McCarty got into the act, as he makes his way through adoring fans while playing his miniature keyboard.

After an extra-suspenseful version of "Dirty" (made even more exciting by Bassist Justin Taylor getting his duct tape-covered nipples pinched several times and Corcoran seemingly humping the amp to coax enough feedback out of it) McCarty took front stage as ACF launched into a spirited and over-the-top cover of "Enter Sandman." The band ended their set by collapsing to the ground in a pile.
An opener with that much energy needs an appropriate act to fit the bill, and who more inappropriate than Cealed Kasket?

There is only so much that can be explained in mortal words to describe this behemoth from "Bristol,England", so I invite you to explore for yourself at their myspace, which should get you caught up on who's mortal, who's a wizard and why you should "Drink and Drive."

They started their set by assailing the audience, as they usually do, and launched into "Break the Rules."

That they did, by being the best comedy act the Terrace has seen since they last came here, a year ago. With songs like "Sex Stained Lady," "Death Train" (with the wonderful chorus "the wheels on the train go, round and round, all the live long day)and "Sarsicus" - the tribute to their blistering wizard/guitarist of the same stage name - even a couple about the age of 45 were standing back laughing. Although the wife looked somewhat appalled, the husband went back into the fray, grey three-piece suit and all.

As this picture can attest, I've never seen so much crowd-surfing at the Terrace. This kid nearly hit his head on the stage lights. He certainly tried hanging from them enough times.

The high-point of the show came during "Backstage Slutting," where every female in a 40-foot radius made their way up on to the stage. This may have been the biggest onstage grind Madison has seen since Girl Talk came to town. However, whereas that one was inspired by beats hot enough to bring out the lustful side of a nun, this movement was inspired by pure drunken revelry. The beginning started with the men shouting "Penis" and the women shouting "vagina." It then turned into some really effective crowd participation. Here is some short, blurry, but entertaining video:

They then ended the song by shouting, "What are you doing? Get these ugly sluts off the fucking stage!"

The abuse is all part of the show, of course. Gold team won, whatever that means, after a point accumulation that included this stipulation: "How many members of the Gold team...are fucking members of the brown team?" A large hurrah went up from much of the crowd. Not that many responded when the brown team was commanded to throw panties on the stage. (although I did see a bra hanging from the lighting.)

My favorite part of the night had to be the song, "Chivalry and Honor" which started out in that seemingly normal refrain, but then sped into a decadent and silly chant of "Sex sex sex sex sex sex!" It then spun into an interlude that included brief metal covers of "Get Low" and "I Believe I Can Fly" with the substitution of the typical metal snarl: "I believe I can fly, I believe I can FUCK the sky!" An epic metal comedy if I've ever heard one.

The set ended after multiple false endings that got similar laughs, a "galloping" rendition of horse, that seemed to be accompanied by coconut shells of death and a final assault on the audience: "Fuck you! Buy Our Shit! Fuck You! Go to Hell!" With that, the band termed a "low-budget GWAR" left the stage, shouting curses at their fans and fans responding likewise.

Although WUD is often criticized for bringing back the same acts time and time again, you can't really argue with this move. AFC and Cealed Kasket are a sure bet for a beer-drinking crowd that needs some serious incentive to get on it's feet. Therefore, while we may have changes in our Union Terrace from year to year, save a seat and a few hundred plastic swords for ACF and Cealed Kasket, as this musical card has been knighted - as a new Madison tradition.


Matt W said...

I was there, and saw them after the show as I was working - I'll be posting about it later.
Good post.

Tristan Mahr said...

fuggin awesome