Mad Mike

The Big Top

January 28, 2005

A few months ago I saw Mad Mike playing for street change on Decatur. I stopped and he asked me if I wanted him to play a song. I said sure. With an acoustic guitar Mike went into a peppy and funny testimonial about how smelly he was(I didn't smell anything). Shy and uncomfortable around people, he avoided eye contact. Afterwards, I gave him some money, Mike said thanks, and that was it.

At Ray Bong's 50th Birthday Party at The Big Top Gallery Friday night, I figured out how being introverted might serve Mike, who wore an Abraham Lincoln beard and hid under a straw hat. During a list of euphemisms for sex, Mike sang that he wanted to put his "baby Jesus in your manger." He'd probably want to avert his gaze when singing that to an irate man from the Bible Belt.

Accompanied by an acoustic guitar playing friend who copied him note for note, Mike sang funny, off-color folk songs. Kinky sex with the crowd's grandmothers was a topic. The highlight of the night was when Mike threatened to take Dr. Spock's place after he suggested parents get their baby high. He rhymed it with "pacify."

The lyrics were the focus of the songs, but the music had enough chord changes and breaks to keep my interest.

Mike and his accomplice started on the stage, but after sound problems, they set up shop on the floor, where people gathered around in a semicircle. The duo kept the attention of a few people, but most were talking over the music.

I enjoyed Mike's lyrics and music. You can normally catch him performing with Bong.


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