The Show: Wednesday February 13, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Mark Growden

By Ken Shimamoto

Mark Growden’s a singer-songwriter from San Francisco, but don’t look for any flowers in his hair. No doubt about it, this cat’s out to lunch, especially at a place where you might see Tom Waits, Kurt Weill, and Sun Ra all sharing a corner booth.

Inside Beneath Behind, the new c.d. by Growden and his band, the Electric Piñata, is definitely the quirkiest disc I’ve heard since Destroy All Monsters’ Swamp Gas last year. But while that c.d. was an unlistenable hour-plus of “found sounds” and readings relating to a 1966 UFO sighting in Ann Arbor, Mich., (validating an arty composer bud’s assertion that “not everything is music”), Growden’s is such a damn seductive listen that it’s been stuck in my player since it followed me home a few nights ago.

Growden’s music is uncategorizable, but listening to Inside Beneath Behind, you’ll hear circus calliopes, Central European brass bands, warped Delta blues, avant-garde jazz, and moody psychedelia. He plays accordion, banjo, various saxes, and organ and makes ’em all sound downright sinister. He writes twisted nursery rhyme-ish lyrics and delivers them in a voice that bears an uncanny resemblance to poor old Eddie Vedder (the man who introduced the inappropriate “rrrr” sound to so many words). On “Devouring Time,” Growden sets Shakespeare’s 19th Sonnet to music, kinda like the Fugs’ Ed Sanders used to do with Blake and Swinburne back in the Paleozoic Era.

In Growden’s wake, the Wreck Room plans to bring in another Bay Area act, the Oakland marching band Extra Action, which is fronted by a 250-pound Elvis impersonator called Extreme Elvis (shades of Dread Zeppelin’s Tortelvis?) and is accented by stripper chicks as flag girls. If they’re anything like this guy, the evening promises to be more than passing strange.

Fri at the Wreck Room, 3208 W 7th St, FW. 817-348-8303.


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