Kara-Jokie: The Dan Band in Seattle

dan band

I never have been good at writing negative reviews, after all the people that we review have worked hard or lucked out to be up there on the stage, screen, or iPod; and here I am, the lowly internet critic, sitting at my computer in my boxers passing judgment on one performance.

Last night, after focusing on my scribbled notes, I thought back to when I was nine years old and at Super Jesus Camp. It was the summer of 1983 and I was crying at the firing range,where they would train us to shoot at makeshift Liberal Hippy Pinko Commie Targets.  Sister Mary Tackhert kneeled down and asked me what was wrong?  Why wasn’t I shooting the guns like all the other boys and girls?

I stopped crying, paused for a second, and took a deep breath, all I could smell was her menstruation; it reminded me of my mother and it comforted me. “I am scared of the big bang the gun makes.  What if it flew out of my hand?” I replied.

She smiled and wiped the tears from my face.  “Don’t be afraid, just think of the bang as the sound of Gabriel’s Trumpet and the bullet as God’s wrath smiting the heathens. If you hold the gun with faith and confidence, God will make sure that it stays in your hand.  You can’t be a solider of God, if you don’t learn how to shoot a gun.

Finally!  Mary Tackhert taught me a lesson that I could actually use, which wasn’t only effective unless I did the complete opposite of what she told me.  Time to just man up and shoot this review like a Liberal Hippy Pinko Commie target.

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THE DAN BAND

June 26,2009

Showbox

Seattle

I arrived at the Showbox theatre on a wonderful Seattle summer evening.  A sole Michael Jackson sparkle glove was raised in to the air by some kid at the front of the line, which gave me hope that Dan Band would be doing a special tribute to the King of Pop.  I really didn’t have that much of an idea what they were going to do, all I knew about the band was what the people surrounding me knew:  They were hilarious in Old School, they are fully choreographed, and they use a lot of profanity.

Moments later, the bouncers came up and ran through how things work in Showbox world:

1. Stay in line

2. Have purse or bags open for inspection.

3. Throw any liquids in the garbage.

4. If you have your ticket go straight

5. If you need a ticket or have to go to Will Call head left and go up the ramp.

Thems the rules.  Thou shalt not deviate.

As I made my way down the line, two heavy set dudes waddled out of the bar and cut in front of the line.  The bouncers patiently explained to them that they had to go to the back of the line,; this took five minutes of useless back and forth for it to sink in through their Denver Broncos hat.  The bouncer turned to face me and said, “Man, these guys get all drunk and rowdy in order to get psyched up for the Bam Damn or whoever the fuck they are, and then end up getting kicked out before the show is finished.”  I nodded in agreement and then quickly made my way to get my ticket, making extra sure I was to the left and taking the ramp.

After a few seconds of me failing to communicate what list I was on, I was granted entry to the show and on my way to the bar.  First drink was a double Grey Goose on the rocks, to quench my thirst from walking all over goddamned Seattle earlier.  As the crowd came in, I noticed that it was a dead even mix of Geek and Greek.  People were getting their pictures taken in front of the stage and lining up at the Schwag table.

I positioned myself by the photo booth machine and passed the time reflecting the good ol’ days, where a guy could pass time smoking in a corner of a bar while waiting for a show to start.  I was knocked out of this dream by another solo concert goer trying to pick up ladies as they were walking to the bar.  I wanted to tell him that the popped collar look is really for the young, or the aging douche; but stopped myself after realizing that he was the poster child for aging douches everywhere.

The Grey Goose quickly disappeared, so I followed it up with a margarita (mainly due to the fact that I have never had a margarita with salt out of a plastic cup before) and then spent the next fifteen minutes coming up with a clever name for this drink combo.  {*Note: the best I could come up with was “the Cuban Missile Crisis“, and also told myself that next time I should probably follow up the vodka with a Mojito. If you can come up with a name that blows me away for this drink series, I will contact you and send you a free Dan Band T-Shirt.}

The opening band was a local group called The Ironclads.  The mix at the Showbox was really off, to the point where it made me not want to be in the same room as the sound that was wrecking through my ear drums; like the way the Kool-Aid Man busts through walls.  Since my assignment was not really to cover this group, I had no guilt in slamming my drink and jetting outside for a smoke or three.  I did promise myself I would check the band out at a later point in time (I will do it tomorrow, honest).

The Ironclads finished their quick set and then quickly moved all of their gear off the stage, as two stagehands raised a giant white bed sheet to block the stage.  I ordered another margarita at the bar and then made my way into the crowd.  After another ten minutes of projector configuration, and last minute adjustments to the large sheet (two stagehands using mic stands to push the sheet away from the lights), the house went dark and their intro movie began to play.

After the curtain dropped and they finished the first number I noticed something odd, there was just a DJ providing the music.  In my mind I began to defend this as an attempt to create the ultimate karaoke experience, it had talented singers, choreographed dance moves, and they picked a lot of wonderful Karaoke power ballads to perform.  After the second song, it began to get stale very quickly.  It reminded me of going to a Karaoke party, and having one drunk annoying dude bogart the mic the entire night.

They tried to spice things up with the promise of improv after some witty banter with an audience member.  “Ha!” I thought to myself, “Here comes the comedy portion of the show.”  Unfortunately, it was just another mix up of three power ballads and it was only the dance that was improvised.  After Dan finished his dance, featuring the patented Dan Band Sweat Rag, he announced they were going to go ahead and do their finale.

After teasing the crowd for a few more minutes, they broke into Beyonce’s “Put A Ring on it“.  What made this song different was that they performed it in front of a giant projection of the music video.  The moves were very close to the video and sent the crowd out on a positive note.

I looked at my watch, and the show lasted just over forty five minutes, which was a good thing, since the show lagged so much between the first and last songs.  I think that if they would put skits between the banter and music, it would keep the entertainment level from dropping like it did.

It is amazing to me, that an ex-traveling cast member for the Lion King musical and stomp, could make a decent living doing Karaoke.  I wish that they had the money to go all out with a touring stage spectacle like in their Bravo Special, but that isn’t what the Dan Band will ever be.  They have a niche that is timeless and could probably continue to be at this level for decades (as long as frat boys and film geeks exist in this world)…or until they become Liberal Hippy Pinko Commies and I have to take them out….for the Glory of Jesus.  Alleluia!

-m.hersted