There's a television commercial where a man shows up for a costume party wearing an 80s hard rock getup, only to learn he's arrived at the wrong address. He feels awkward, the people in the house feel awkward. I had a similar feeling listening to Lard Dog & the Band of Shy's CD, SLURP THE NOODLE OF LIFE. Somewhere a party is going on, but I just felt awkward.
Multi-media performances tend to feel diluted if you remove one or more of the elements. For instance, we saw the Blue Man Group last week during the school break. Now, you can describe the experience. But would you get anything out of just listening to the soundtrack? Pee-Wee Herman's Playhouse was a spectacular breakout performance, however the most famous song from the show is the Champs' "Tequila." Even Kidz Bop changed the title when they recorded their version.
Steven Erdman has clearly been honing Lard Dog for a long time and LARD's 15-week Off-Broadway run was no fluke. He's got something happening, but until I viewed video clips, I just felt awkward. I appreciated the Devo underpinnings to many of the songs, applauded the unabashed unhinged spirit of invention, and saluted his efforts to promote the La'Delles, whom he discovered singing in the NYC subway.
In short, Lard Dog is a cartoon character from the planet Belopio. He traveled here on a giant pretzel and is surrounded by funny characters singing about improbable things. Titles include "He's Plop, Treat Him Nice" (a rockabilly tune sounding ripped from the 1950s), "Catch That Pretzel" (a Buddy Holly yodeling number), and "Listen to the Bob Hope" (prime Devo meets the B-52s).
LIFE'S A REAL DREAM did bring something out of my five-year-old. But he was silly to begin with. So our relationship with Lard Dog may expand in the future. I may feel awkward while the kid sings 'Do the Pooky Do," but at least he's singing. And with nonsense lyrics, he's just inspired to make up more of his own. Really, that's what Erdman has been doing with LARD for 20 years.
LIFE'S A REAL DREAM is available March 11 from the House of Lard website, Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.
One of my younger son's first "favorite" artists was Brooklyn's Miss Nina. When we had enough of her debut CD, SHA DOO BE DOOP, he was inspired (at 2 1/2 years old) to figure out how to extract the disk, turn on the CD player and stereo receiver, and hit "play." He has aged out (unfortunately) but for younger listeners, Miss Nina is still the bee's knees (or whatever the mod tods are into these days). Her new CD. EVERY DAY'S YOUR BIRTHDAY, is coming out in March. Check out her weekly video series of children's songs:
The Singing Lizard (Liz DeRoche) is prepping for the March release of her CD, CLUB CALLED AWESOME. The "electro-kindie" performer has released the first video from the disk, "Show Me Your Happy," and no, it's not a typo. She encourages listeners to show their happy faces and behavior. And it features a sad Abominable Snowman, so there are no losers here.