Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mandrill Rules!!!!

I have three favorite jam bands: Mandrill, War, and Parliament-Funkadelic. The first two were in the DC area last week, though War at the Carter Barron sold out before I could cop tickets. And George Clinton is on tour again with Parliament-Funkadelic and will be at the 9:30 club in July. Life is good.

Mandrill was at the Birchmere while I was away on vacation, but fortunately they were also in nearby Annapolis this Monday at the Rams Head Tavern, and they jammed like they had never left the scene! Still gettin' it done! Mandrill stands ten strong, and with the four Wilson Brothers and some others from the original iteration and an outstanding selection of newer talent (notably on drum kit, lead guitar, and violin) they rocked all their hits in a breathless 90-minute set. Highlights included "Mandrill," "Fencewalk," "Children of the Sun," "Mango Meat," "House of Wood," "Get it All," and of course "Ape is High." Carlos Wilson's voice and flute were in fine form, as were Lou Wilson on trumpet and vocals, Ricardo "Doc" Wilson on Trombone and vocals, and Wilfredo Wilson on congas and vocals. Admonitions by the venue that the audience refrain from dancing went appropriately unheeded (as if the audience had any choice once Mandrill started jamming).

Mandrill has always been horn-strong, with trombone and trumpet, soprano and baritone saxes, all mic-ed, so the sound was deafeningly loud. My ears rang for hours after the show since I was sitting next to the stage. Back in the day, I used to shoot concerts with my ear next to the loudspeakers with no problem. Not any more.

Still, it was all worth it, and I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a concert so much.

World's greatest rock band: the Rolling Who?! The Grateful Duds?! They better reco'nize! Mandrill Rules!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bicentennial Blunder

Photos by Incorrigible Curmudgeon (c)2008

Of all the miss-steps taken in celebration of the Bicentennial 32 years ago, among the worst (at least in DC) has to be the bright idea to make planters out of discarded car wheels and tires. The tires were cut away from the wheel hub on one side of the wheel and flipped inside-out, still attached to the other side. The result was a bowl shape which was then trimmed in a scallop pattern in an effort to make these hideous things as appealing as possible. Filled with soil, they became crude planters of sorts. When painted, you could almost forget their origins save for the tell-tale tire pattern clearly visible. These 'planters' once proliferated throughout DC, though most have mercifully disappeared. These photos were recently taken on Ingraham Street, NW, near Kennedy.

The only thing worse was the brainstorm to paint DC fire hydrants to look like little steadfast tin soldiers, attired in uniforms the likes of which even Michael Jackson would avoid. The color palette on these atrocities was straight out of the local house paint store (where it no doubt came from) and contributed to the garishly grotesque appearance of these stunted humanoids with the phocomelic paddles for arms and their 'we are Devo' helmets. Thankfully, they all seem to have been replaced or repainted in dark green, though a few have been spotted well into the 21st Century. If I ever spot one that slipped through the cracks I'll be sure to post the photo.