By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
"How many of you got the fever?" The Falkon's Mwanza Dover asks, perched on the edge of the stage in the Gypsy Tea Room's small showroom. "If you don't got it, you're about to," he says, launching into "Sui-Can" (aka "Got the Fevuh"). Dover does have the fever, and he's howling, screeching, crooning, pointing, raising his fist, shuffling with his guitar onstage and dancing on the floor with the crowd and the microphone cord wrapped around his wrist. He even does a perfect arc backward, descending from standing position near the mike to lying on the floor, knees bent under him, guitar resting on his chest as he continues to play in front of the drum kit. Suddenly he's back on his feet in what seems like one smooth movement, still playing guitar, having never missed a beat.
To followers of The Falkon, this is normal. Dover is in continual motion, even when he's not playing guitar or keyboardist/vocalist Daron Beck is taking the mike for some wicked Tom Waits-ian vocals. This impassioned, wild, manic, mesmerizing commotion is just as expected as The Falkon's songs being filled with screeching guitars, bluesy riffs, thunderous drums, heavy rhythms and contrastingly melodic piano (rounded out by Ian Hamilton, Greg Pickett and Clay Stinnette). This combination shows a range of influences from The Stooges to Sonic Youth to Nick Cave, with bits and pieces of blues and jazz (Dover references free jazz artist Albert Ayler and his "Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe"). Those familiar with Dover's legacy (leading Mazinga Phaser and The Falcon Project and booking The Argo and The Melodica Festival--all the epitome of Denton's mid- to late-'90s space rock) would probably find a country and western record a more likely follow-up than this. But Dover, whose old shows might include movie projectors, droning spacey sounds and audiences sitting down, has never seemed more fervent or excited. With several shows booked in the next month and an album in progress, the fever is catching.
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