April 22, 2005
Lead singer Clint Maedgen promised in Friday's Times-Picayune article that Liquidrone would come out swinging that morning at Jazzfest. He was right. They must have put on the most exciting, dramatic, sensory-testing show to ever start off Jazzfest.
Whoever put Liquidrone in that opening spot was smart. Having such an outrageous act in the morning slot drew press, and after seeing such a show, people must have left bolstered, thirsty for more spine tinglers around the fairgrounds. Liquidrone was the fireworks that signaled the arrival.
Maedgen operated megaphones and an air-raid siren while his crew(Mike Miller--guitar, toys, vocals/Casey McAllister--keys, theremin/Marty Lastrapes--bass/Ryan Farris--drums, live sampling) were up to their usual shenanigans. They mixed beautiful music with theatre. The music was a stew: '80's flute-powered beach calm. Toy squeaks that kept the rhythm. Dashes of metal chords for danger. And ominous, nihilistic vocals that added just enough decadence to inspire urges. That was just "Harley," the song in which Liquidrone's three actors came alive.
Ronnie Numbers, The Turk, and a female dancer dolled up in fishnets and bright make-up oversaw the festivities and acted out the songs. Numbers and The Turk operated the confetti cannons. The dancer had Flashdance energy, but her fist-pumping, aggressive moves went better with Liquidrone's driving music than angelic flights. During one of the sexier, thumping songs, Numbers bent the dancer over for some scandalous moves that didn't feel like morning, and the dancer in turn rode Numbers like a dog. As The Meters would say a day later on the same stage, "Welcome to New Orleans!" A small round table on the side of the stage provided a place for acting. The Turk jumped into the photo pit and continually climbed onto and then carelessly fell off of the barricades. Boy's lucky he didn't break his neck! At one point, Maedgen also left the stage to arrive in the audience barricade center singing.
The actors weren't the only ones acting. Maedgen and Miller did a good of keeping up the sense of mystery and wonder the actors produced, but sometimes it just got too silly and they couldn't keep a straight face. Miller acted insane as usual. His best move was when he wrung out his eyes in front of his face cartoon-like as McAllister manipulated the theremin.
The band was great. They rocked, rambled folk, and approached the material with vigor. Maedgen beat on trashcan drums and played the sax. He shone, as usual, with his soaring, tesifying vocals on the gospel-tinged "There is a Light."