The first time I experienced Puddles Pity Party was when someone turned me on to the YouTube video of "the sad clown with the golden voice" performing a cover of Lorde's "Royals" with Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox. It was so weird and charming. This 6-foot-8 baldheaded man in a white clown suit, white makeup, and a tiny golden crown strides into the frame, sets his suitcase on a bass drum and a lantern on a piano and launches into this pop song by a New Zealand singer-songwriter. It was mesmerizing, and I've watched it dozens of times. It holds up!
- Photo Courtesy Of Puddles Pity Party
- SAD CLOWN/GOLDEN VOICE Puddles Pity Party brings his multimedia pop song vaudeville jamboree to the Fremont Theater on April 10.
A few years ago, my wife and I got a chance to see Puddles (née Mike Geier) perform in Santa Barbara. I ponied up the extra dough for the pre-show meet-and-greet, and it did not disappoint. Puddles' shtick is that he doesn't talk ... at all. Not during the show, not at the meet-greet, but he sings like Mel Tormé, and despite his silence he manages to be funny as hell. His live show is vaudeville meets multimedia, and his innovative takes on familiar songs are simply stunning.
Here's how Geier, who does talk, remembers "discovering" Puddles: "A 7-foot clown walks into a bar. He motions for a soda water and sits there staring at his drink. The year was 1998 and Puddles had wandered into the Star Community Bar in Atlanta, Georgia, where bartender Big Mike Geier first laid eyes on the sad, silent clown. 'There was a heaviness about him,' said Geier. 'I could tell he wasn't in the mood to chat, so I pretty much left him alone except to pass him the mustard when he pulled an onion and a heel of bread out of his pocket. A couple weeks later, he came by the bar and gave me a flyer to a show he was doing at a flea market. The sound system at that flea market was crap, but his voice was something else. I've been in my share of bands and wasn't expecting much from a clown singing karaoke from a boombox. But I'll be damned if his singing didn't get me all choked up.' The two soon became close friends, with Big Mike acting somewhat as a confidant, and the pair travel all over with Puddles Pity Party, Mike speaking on behalf of Puddles since the clown chooses to stay silent."
Puddles Pity Party plays the Fremont on Sunday, April 10 (7 p.m.; all ages; $25 to $125 at eventbrite.com).
"Puddles gives an emotive performance that resonates with all kinds of folks," Geier said. "The crowd really responds to him. There's something about a giant sad singing clown that comforts us, let's us know it's OK to feel, to show our feelings. It's a sad and beautiful world, and we're all in it together, even when we're totally alone."
Blues great Robert Cray comes to the Fremont next Thursday, April 14 (8 p.m.; all ages; $39.50 to $57 at eventbrite.com). "Funky, cool, and bad" is how he describes his latest album, That's What I Heard, which was just released on Feb. 28.
- Photo Courtesy Of D.o.a.
- HARDCORE PROGENITORS D.O.A. will play their seminal album Hardcore '81 in its entirety as well as other hits on April 11 in The Siren.
Back to '81
Numbskull and Good Medicine host what promises to be a monster hardcore show this Monday, April 11, when—to celebrate its 40th anniversary—D.O.A. will play its legendary album Hardcore '81 in its entirety. Shouldn't take too long. It's only 18 minutes and 56 second long! One of the hardcore originators, the band will also play a selection of their greatest hits. D.O.A. still features founding member Joey "Shithead" Keithley (vocals and guitar), and the band's motto remains, "Talk minus action equals zero." The Death Set opens the show (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 presale at eventbrite.com).
Numbskull and Good Medicine also host progressive socially conscious singer-songwriter Sunny War at The Siren on Thursday, April 7 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $15 to $17 at eventbrite.com).
The promoters are also hosting California Cowboy Whiskey, which presents the Bucked Up Tour with Moonshine Bandits on Wednesday, April 13, at BarrelHouse Brewing in Paso Robles (6 p.m.; 18-and-older; $22 to $25 at eventbrite.com). "Backwoods bravado, patriot's pride, country soul, keg-thumping beats—these are the qualities that Moonshine Bandits have championed since they began their journey," press materials explain.
- Photo Courtesy Of Ismael Quintanilla
- TEXAS TORNADO Guitar slinger and blues singer Carolyn Wonderland plays The Siren on April 10.
Welcome to Wonderland
Texas guitar slinger, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter Carolyn Wonderland plays an album release for Tempting Fate on Sunday, April 10 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $27.50 to $30 eventbrite.com).
MOJO named Tempting Fate the No. 7 Best Blues Album of 2021, Wonderland won two 2021-22 Austin Music Awards for Best Guitarist and for Best Blues Artist, and she was recently nominated for two 2022 Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist of The Year and for Song of The Year for "Fragile Peace And Certain War" from her new album.
Other Siren in-house shows this week include rock quartet Balto playing their Mojave snake blues with bluegrass act Dusty Green Bones Band opening on Friday, April 8 (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; free).
Detroit grunge rockers Sponge play on Saturday, April 9 (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $17 to $20 at eventbrite.com) with local rockers Rusted Stone opening.
The Siren also will host Bluegrass night with Never Come Down and Miss Leo on Wednesday, April 13 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $12 and $15 at eventbrite.com).
Rockin' the Rock
Don't forget that Austin-based jam rock and looping quartet White Denim plays SLO Brew Rock on Thursday, April 7 (7:30 p.m.; 18-and-older; $24.50 at ticketweb.com), mixing dub, psychedelic rock, blues, punk, prog-rock, soul, jazz, and experimental rock.
See North Carolina-based indie rockers Superchunk with LA-based garage rock singer-songwriter Mike Krol on Friday, April 8, at SLO Brew Rock (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 at ticketweb.com). Both these acts are raw and real and crunchy.
Mariachi and metal hybrid Metalachi returns to the area on Saturday, April 9 with a SLO Brew Rock show (7:30 p.m.; 18-and-older; $20 to $25 at ticketweb.com). So many choices this week!
More music ...
In addition to the big venues doing their big-venue things, there's a bevy of small gems this week too. For instance, Funky Flames frontman "Burning" James Scoolis plays three shows: solo at Mulligan's at the Avila Beach Golf Resort on Thursday, April 7 (5 p.m.); solo at Sea Pines Golf Resort in Los Osos on Saturday, April 9 (5 p.m.); and with Bad Billy and Burning John Hock at the Paso Pour House on Sunday, April 10 (4 p.m.).
Local artist Youssef Alaoui will play with traveling acts lay/lie and Forever Green on Friday, April 8, at Morro Bay's The Foghorn Brewhouse (6 to 9 p.m.; free). "We'll do some songs together, so it'll be a fun evening of friends playing music in the salty summer air," Alaoui said. "I think it'll be warm by then." Expect desert psychedelic reverb guitars and ambient female vocals.
After a two-year hiatus, SLOfolks is back with a humdinger of a show when singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tony Furtado along with fiddle champ Luke Price play on Friday, April 8 at Castoro Cellars (doors at 6:30 p.m.; $25 at castorocellars.com/events). Furtado plays banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar, baritone ukulele, and more. He's a very cool artist and soulful performer.
- Photo Courtesy Of Ben Rosenblum
- YOUNG NYC JAZZ LION The Ben Rosenblum Trio plays a SLO Jazz Federation show at Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church on April 9.
The SLO Jazz Federation has killer NYC jazz piano act the Ben Rosenblum Trio playing SLO's acoustically lovely Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church this Saturday, April 9 (doors at 7 p.m.; $30 general admission at my805tix.com). Rosenblum, a young and innovative internationally touring jazz pianist, accordionist, and composer, is hitting the West Coast with Eduardo Belo on bass and Ben Zweig on drums, and the Jazz Fed was lucky enough to have him stop by.
"Drawing from an eclectic repertoire that includes selections from the jazz and popular music traditions, as well as global music influences from South America, Eastern Europe, Ireland, and the Caribbean, Rosenblum combines his modern, melodic sensibility with his broad knowledge of a variety of musical lineages from the past one hundred years," according to press materials. "The trio never repeats the same program twice in a row—every evening is a unique experience shaped by the audience and the setting."
San Fernando Valley-based rock act Raised on TV is playing at Frog and Peach on Saturday, April 9 (10 p.m.; 21-and-older). The bopping indie rock act has a new album, Fernando, out now. Garage rock meets college rock meets emo meets indie-folk awaits you! Δ
Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at email@example.com.