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Review: Meat Puppets in Fountain Square

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The Meat Puppets - JEFF NAPIER
  • Jeff Napier
  • The Meat Puppets

Last Friday the Meat Puppets showed up in Fountain Square and with no fanfare or pretension, completely schooled the crowd on how punk rock can sound like anything you want it to. The two brothers up front, Cris and Curt Kirkwood ran a tight ship and gave us a concise, yet mind-meltingly good set.

The set, capped off with the obligatory "hits" "Backwater" and "Lake Of Fire," was a perfect survey of the band's entire catalogue. The set was a guitar showcase, with Curt and his boy, Elmo, (who, incidentally looks a lot like Wolfgang Van Halen) carving up the place with father/son guitar drama.

"Up on the Sun" kicked things off with an extended guitar workout that set the tone for the rest of the set. A couple of tunes from their latest LP Rat Farm fit in nicely with tunes like "Plateau," the jammy "Touchdown King" and the Cowboy punk of "The Monkey and the Snake." A highlight came late in the set, when they pulled out a spellbinding cover of the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B." Shandon Sahm, killed it with an incredible show behind the drum kit. Without a doubt, the best Beach Boys cover, ever.

Despite all that, it was big brother Cris who stole the show with his facial expressions: think Joe Cocker having hot, dirty sex. So, Cris was often times disturbing to watch. Yet, you couldn't keep your eyes off him. The longer you watched him however, the more you saw the pain, the loss, the 40 years of being baked in the Arizona sun with his brain fried on drugs. I have never seen a more soulful performance from a bassist. This man is like the Otis Redding of bass players, I shit you not.

At one point, Curt, looked at Wolfgang (Elmo) and nodded toward Cris, who was lost in the moment with his face contorted like a Hungarian porn star. Father and son watched brother and uncle for a while and then looked back at each other with wide grins. The love filled the room.

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