The Big Top

July 17, 2004

The important things:

Saturday night at The Big Top was my first Liquidrone concert. It was like falling in love with a girl--you wonder why it took her so long to come along, but you're happy all the same.

Liquidrone were a twelve year-old rock band helmed by a spiky haired former college jazz student named Clint Maegden. Maegden incorporated jazz's free notions into Liquidrone. He used a toolbox, recorded voices, a megaphone, pots and pans, and toys that lit up and swirled around.

The band was saxophonist/flutist Maegden, keyboardist Casey McAllister, bassist Marty Lastrapes, drummer Ryan Ferris, and guitarist Mike Miller.

Liquidrone played beautifully crafted songs, and they were fun to watch. The songs were loud and rambunctious, but they were heartfelt and smart, so I couldn't dismiss them as testosterone junkies. There was definitely a carnival atmosphere, so it was no surprise the music occasionally had the same sound. Maegden acted as the circus barker inviting me to the "Celebration," a great song last night. His dramatic voice and flights of fancy(running off stage to blow a megaphone into the corner of the room, etc.) were wonderful, and he had a willing sidekick in Miller, who seriously looked insane. He was way into it--donning a blow horn hat, blowing whistles, screaming, feigning sleep.
It was great when Maegden shone a headlight at Miller during a guitar solo, encouraging Miller's freak-outs even more.

Dude or chick, they just rocked. You must see them immediately....

....but not if you have a closed mind, are impatient, or have a long attention span. Liquidrone changed moods(sad, angry, sexy, whimsical, smart-ass) every song, and they stopped and went many times mid-song. All you ADD people--this is your band.

Now, to the review:

Liquidrone opened for themselves Saturday night. With the demise of songwriter/lead singer Clint Maegden's other group Bingo!, it made sense to showcase the quieter songs of Bingo! and some newer Liquidrone songs before the main event.

The band was stationed on the ground floor in front of the stage for the first set. The highlight was "Fools and Their Fences," a rhythmic powerhouse that sucked me in with its veiled complexity and Maedgen's soulful voice. The way he morphed it reminded me of Faith No More's Mike Patton. McAllister stomped a toolbox, Ferris hit his drumsticks against pots, and Miller ran a bell at the perfect moment.

The band got onstage and played a pretty long set. Maegden's songs showcased old brothel melodies and a Motown influence, but most of the time they just got crazy and rocked.

One of the slower, R&B songs that showed their sense of humor, "Bad Girl (Smack Her on the Booty)" prompted Maegden to ask a couple of girls he knew in the front row if they liked to be spanked.

Maegden thanked the crowd after every song, but too bad the audience wasn't more into it. They enjoyed it, but there was an obvious space between them and the group. No jumping around or anything. That was all onstage.

Liquidrone will be around for the next month. Check 'em out.

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