Imagine the Band
August 13, 2005
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY JASON SONGE
At 10 p.m. on Saturday night at The Circle Bar, Eric William Pierson was talking to friends while sitting at a living room table. Almost an hour later, when the bar was filling up, Pierson journeyed upstairs to put on his wetsuit. He came back down and was led through the crowd by the Circle Bar's manager. Pierson drew enough attention to himself by being the only person wearing waterproof clothing, but when he used the microphone to announce himself as IMAGINE "the" BAND, a semicircle of bodies immediately formed around him. It became so crowded inside that some people just decided to watch the show through the back window.
With only an imaginary band backing him, Pierson launched into the lyrics of "Knife Fight."
But, before we go any further, let's slow down for a second. There's no band. You have to imagine it. This is made easier by the drumkit situated behind Pierson. Still, the only way you know the song is changing tempos or transitioning into the bridge is through a change in the vocal rhythm. There's no "music" to signal it. So, what exactly is Pierson trying to do? Well, he's written complete original songs for zero instruments. In short, he's got a funny concept and some funny lyrics.
Both of these elements turned into laughter because Pierson was a funny actor during his performance. It's no surprise Pierson is a movie set dresser during the day and that he's acted in a few projects, including the recent "Elvis" miniseries(learn more about Pierson in Michael Patrick Welch's column about him in the August issue of Offbeat). The acting began with the headphones Pierson wore throughout the performance. Even though Pierson acted like specific songs were being pumped to him by the bar's stereo controller, he wasn't listening to anything. If Pierson wasn't naturally a funny performer, his performance art wouldn't work. The best evidence was "Look Both Ways Before You Cross My Heart," his country music parody. Pierson made self-aware funny faces as he swiveled his hips and his shoulders and everything else in an exaggerated style. He tuned and eventually smashed an imaginary acoustic guitar into the ground.
Pierson was at his best when he was acting like the over-energized rock singer. He sold the songs because he invested himself fully, even if at times his apparent lust for life wasn't sincere.
Back to "Knife Fight." During the new song that was inspired by Motorhead, Pierson got up into people's faces with his metally mean face. Sticking to the metal tip, "Mean Face" was a commentary on the silliness of nu metal. "Drive" was inspired by all the muscle car hey brahs Pierson grew up with. And by muscle car, he meant a Buick. Ahhh, Metairie.
Even though there was silence in between the lyrics, nobody in the crowd took the opportunity to heckle. Since most of the people were laughing at Pierson, it seemed like they got the joke. Either that or they were just laughing at him.
"Clear Vision Foundation Anthem" was Pierson's 2020 presidential campaign theme. Get it? 20/20? Anyway, an actor becoming president doesn't seem so strange as it used to.