Bob Schneider, Odis and Charlie Shafter and the Gnomes The Granada Theater August 7, 2009 Better than: Listening to a 68-year-old man proposition you to lay across his big brass bed.
If you've never attended a Bob Schneider gig, it's highly probable you spent a good portion of last night's show at the Granada asking, "Did he --?"
To clear things up: Yes. Yes, he did.
Schneider bellowed pirate drinking songs ("Sons of Ralph"), free-styled about stretching condoms on the bathroom floor, told poop jokes, air-drummed Phil Collins beats and listed things he's interested in that start with the letter "f." (Oh my!) Within the first five minutes and absolutely as the two-hour set ended, Schneider had the entire sold out venue gyrating around each other and screaming for more.
The show started out pretty calm (considering) jumping straight into "Metal and Steel," a melancholy ballad where Schneider trades flesh and bones for emotionless metal and cold-hearted steel. The set picked up pace soon after and turned to his perfect songs for the summer with a little hint Harry Belafonte "Day-O." For a guy who spends his time in the heart of Texas, Schneider sure has a lot of sea references.
Before anyone realized, the crowd was head bobbing to the Austin native's funk groove in "Bullets" and transcending effortlessly into Spanish mambo canciones like "Bombananza." Even if you didn't know all the words, Schneider took time to teach lyrics during "Tarantula" and failing that, the guy next to you -- undoubtedly a superfan who drove up from Austin -- probably helped you out.
For a five-piece band, they're a lot to take in. Ollie Steck (accordion, baritone, keyboard, trumpet) maintained some level of class in his gig-tuxedo, dancing off the melodies of Harmoni Kelley (bass), Jeff Plankenhorn (guitar) and John Speice (drums) with some sort of bizarre-pantomime-meets-Monty-Python's-Ministry-of-Silly-Walks.
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After driving in from Colorado and setting down his guitar around 12:40, Schneider looked a little worn out, but the room let him know how much they appreciated him throughout the night. He appropriately ended the 28-song set with "Assknocker." And given the chance, there's no doubt he wouldn't have "rocked this mother-- all night long." If you couldn't make it to what he called the best show they've ever played, there's a live recording floating around, and another show in three weeks at The Aardvark in Fort Worth. Here's to hoping Schneider puts out a bona fide hip hop record in the near future.
Critic's Notebook: Personal Bias: I trudged into the Granada Theater cranky and not in the best spirits for reviewing a show. The room was overflowing with contagiously good vibes. Thanks, Bob! New morning soundtrack: CHECK!
Random Note: The kick drum broke towards the end of the set, which explains why John took that long break and Schneider took over the cymbals.
By the way: Give Odis a listen. They opened up for Schneider and if not for that daunting 40 minute break between their set and the headliner's, the crowd would have stayed primed and ready.