photos by Taelor Coplin
TACO went private party-crashing in Malibu last week and had one mutherfucker of a blast at a July 4th “Pretty in Pink” jam on the beach. Insane amounts of cocktails were consumed among the rose-clad party-freaks, described more accurately as vultures when the aroma of ribs wafts through the thick sea-salted air. In addition to friends, families, pets and fireworks, we saw a couple rock n’ roll bands, with time for a Rod Stewart impersonator to hit the stage in between. Many actually thought it was Rod Stewart pulling up in Malibu in that red Bentley with the leggy blonde. Not implausible.
The night’s acme was reached with the sundown performance of San Francisco’s Yard Dog Road Show, most probably risen from the ashes of some long-gone Burning Man. They are a whiskey-stained, slightly surreal romp through the syphllitic burlesque n’ vaudeville cathouses of the Old West, crossed with the gypsy tramp punk of Black Rider-style Tom Waits, fornicating with Gogol Bordello at their most Satanic.
In addition to Carnie spoken word, mezmerizing visuals, Suicide Girl-types engaging in hot, highly technical burlesque, sword-swallowing, random pyromania, belly-dancing, nothing-up-the-sleeves magic, animal husbandry, hot horn riffs, lighting and costume effects in a blazingly precise stage show, the Yard Dogs generally rock pretty hard, with standouts on the trombone and accordions, as well as junkyard instruments.
The only unfortunate turn came at show’s end, when the Yard Dogs broke their own spell to perform an unexpected and unneeded white-boy rap-rock version of Paid In Full. This unnecessary foray took away from the mystery and had the opposite effect of proving their power. Maybe it was just their way of unwinding on the 4th?
Really doe, the Yard Dogs are an amazing band with a tight, hynotically dark and funny stage show full of surprises and seduction. They were cool people too, they let me use their midget chair while I worried my friend had died horribly on the way over (who was inside ,drunk). Yard Dog Lily gave me half her cookie too. They’re boss, guys. Check them out playing throughout the West Coast, they’ll be in Santa Barbara this weekend.