the bALLY who?

Dragon's Den

May 14, 2005

The bALLY who? is more of an experience than a band. Yes, they do play sloppy, behind-the-beat rock music. But, they also have a bohemian creed and motto--"All we are doing is saying yes." They prosper on barter and trade. They will play in your home if you feed them. They are open-minded sound technicians, poets, and painters that happen to have a talent for music.

The bALLY who's love of fun, eccentricity, and whimsy was obvious in their theatrical live show at The Dragon's Den in May. They opened their concert up for the first time to marionette puppeteer couple The Dynamic DuPonts(a.k.a. Frank and Eve), who showcased two short scenes to pre-recorded music between songs.

The real scene-stealer was the band's M.C., Bryan Spitzfaden. The local theatre veteran was the band's official fire and brimstone cheerleader. He used different characters such as a grizzled show promoter and preacher to instill humor and enthusiasm into the concert. He also threw painted-upon t-shirts into the crowd and marched around with a homemade acoustic kazooksaphone, which is crafted out of duct tape, paint, large construction cones, and "some sort of air conduction tubes," Spitzfaden said. His best idea was to ask the audience to write upon a blank poster their wildest dreams. When Spitzfaden read them out-loud later and decided if the band could make the dreams into realities, it was obvious he had found a new way to bring audience and band closer together.

Short films that were synchronized with each song and shown on a movie screen in the performance area clarified the band's message. During the slow-swinging dance song "Lagoon Eyes," a looped image of the female cat snuggling up to the male cat in Disney's The Aristocats accompanied vocalist/guitarist Jacques Dufourc's sensual lean into the microphone. He sang, "They say that in time you'll get over/So I'll whistle and whine/'Till i'm sober to hold her again."

While the bALLY who? is happy-go-lucky and romantic, they also have their grievances. Angry artistocrats and motorcycle crashes flood the screen during "Untitled Bout," an attack on the current administration's war campaign. "All for one and one is all/It takes to fall/This country's bad decisions/Gotta practice patriotism." This was a built-up-to-a-crescendo and loud-as-hell cathartic rocker. Dufourc strummed feverishly and stumbled around the stage in a fit of rock star bravado. "Bout" was confident, catchy, and fuzz-drenched.

The bALLY who? is more than a band. They're a growing idea. Spitzfaden is currently working on new characters and an electric kazooksaphone.

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