Friday, November 2, 2007

Watching Dubya get captured by robots

Today was pretty cool. Actually, as it is quarter to 1 AM as I type this, I should say yesterday was pretty cool.

I was somewhat concerned it wouldn't be cool, what with having to go in to the office on my day off to attend some bullshit curriculum meeting. The meeting was indeed bullshit, but the bullshittiness of it was slightly ameliorated by the fact that I ate a delicious roast pork sandwich before we got started. The garlic gave me a bit of a stomach ache, but I'm sure it bothered my colleagues even more, so it was worth it.

After the meeting, I jacked around my office a bit, had a long chat with my friend Brian, then hopped the train home to feed/water/walk Ellie. We did the doggie circuit pretty quick and then I jumped in my car and drove eastward. Back to Collinwood actually. First stop was Music Saves, where I chatted with the owners about the cool Zaireeka event they had held, bought a copy of the Besnard Lakes' recent cd, The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse, and a ticket to a comedy show at the Grog Shop in a couple weeks (feat. Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, a couple of guys from The State, one of my favorite tv shows when I was in high school). After making my purchases, I headed down the block to the Beachland Ballroom to see Captured! By Robots.

Opening for C!BR was Motivational Speaker Dance Party, a new-ish local kitschy super-group, made up of area students, classically-trained musicians, and members of my favorite Cleveland rock group, Coffinberry. MSDP's act is a gag, a 5-step faux-motivational group presentation set to rock songs. But it was fucking hilarious and I was busting a gut by the time they left stage.

After their short set, and another 30 minutes or so of stage work (during which I flirted with a girl wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm a-Freud to fall in love," until her husband came back with their beers), C!BR took the stage. C!BR is an incredibly interesting group. Actually, it is just one guy, stage name J-Bot/real name Jason Vance, and a group of animatronic robots. Animatronic robots, you ask? Think the robotic musicians from the Chuck E Cheese band, stripped out of their costumes and redressed as politically relevant figures. Specifically, Dick Cheney on bass, Saddam Hussein on the traps, Condi on a bass and snare, and a three-robot horn section featuring Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and a bunch of different Republican candidates (the troupe was referred to as the Presidential Hopeful Horn Section). There were a couple hold-overs from the old Chuck E Cheese band, but instead of playing instruments they provided a recurring interview between Wolf Blitzer and Nancy Pelosi (but, you know, as bears).

Man, I really wish I had brought my camera.

Vance had the rest of the robots programmed to actually play their very real instruments, and what the performance amounted to was mostly metal, with a little hard rock and a splash of rap thrown in.

Let me be clear, this was a great show. The music was a lot of fun and the knowledge of Vance was evident and impressive. As he performed, he donned a crazy George W Bush mask and stayed in character the whole show. He played a dozen or so songs, including original gems such as "Hanging Chads," "I Am Bush" (which consisted of him screaming the title over and over; afterwards, he said it was a great song about America), "Dubya Dub" (a light reggae rap about our dear president and his druggie past), "I Got His Gun, Dad" (about getting Saddam's gun as a souveneir after the Iraq war), "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (a riff on national security and eavesdropping on cellphone conversations, set to the tune of the christmas carol by the same name), and a straight-forward cover of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again." This cover closed the show and was the best part, in my opinion. As the bridge ends, the Dick Cheney robot leads in the thunderous reprise on bass, and J-Bot giggles just like Dubya, shouting to the audience, "That's my Vice-President!" During the instrumental jam, he ran around the audience, saying random things like "No sir, we won't get fooled again, can't be, that would be un-American."

Between songs there were 5-10 minute conversational interludes, ranging from Saddam's diatribes against Dubya about how much he hated our president and making fun of him for not being cool (Quote: "Oh, you invaded my country. That's so awesome. I fucking hate you.") to Condi's occasional outburst about how much she loved him and wanted them to be together to J-Bot's commentary on Wolf and Nancy's interview. Priceless moment, when Wolf asks Nancy if the Dems are going to cut funds for the war, Dubya/J-Bot shouts, "She's not gonna cut funding for shit!" and goes into a tirade about pussy communists. Whenever anything failed on stage, from one of Condi's drumsticks breaking to the mic getting unplugged to J-bot falling off stage, he blamed terrorists and threatened to send random people to Gitmo or Abu Gahraib.

This may not sound funny to you, particularly whatever conservative asshole may be reading this (without my permission, by the way! Get off my fucking blog, you ridiculous fascists!), but trust me, it was really fucking funny. I haven't had so much fun at a show in a long-time.

Best part: since I'm working on research about the relationship between rock and roll and the presidency, I'm pretty sure I can write off my beers.

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