The Inactivists with Little Fyodor & Babushka Band and The Skivies, 4/1/2011
Tom Murphy The Inactivists
With Little Fyodor & Babushka Band and The Skivies
04.01.11 | Walnut Room
This show didn't turn out to be a April Fool's Day joke of some kind -- although that was certainly a possibility given that the Inactivists are jokers with a wickedly mischievous sense of humor. Nonetheless, at least The War On Jazz Hands got a proper introduction into the world at large at a venue with excellent sound and with bands on the bill that were as high quality as the headliner.
Tom Murphy Little Fyodor & Babushka Band
Seeing Little Fyodor & Babushka Band is a little like seeing The Ramones, except the songs are not played at maximum speed and are more twisted and bizarre, as if Edward Gorey wrote the lyrics while not being particularly focused on the macbre. This outfit doesn't really take breaks between songs except to engage in quasi-lewd commentary as theater. Little Fyodor himself is a dream subject of fascination for someone suffering from a combination of OCD and ADD, as his face constantly shifts from one contorted expression to the next when he's not singing profane and curiously memorable lyrics. But this was not a novelty act, even though Babushka, too, has a persona for the stage like a Lithuanian great aunt.
The band played songs with titles like "You Give Me Hard-On," about, well, just what you might think it's about, and covered Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf," with Babushka, fully in character, on vocals. And each moment and note was executed with a precision and fluidity that only comes from honed talent. As per times past, Little Fyodor ended the show with his signature set of unpredictable dance moves called "The Dance of the Salted Slug." While the rest of the band played even weirder than usual music, Fyodor ran off stage into the audience to spread the weird to people often too afraid to be near it.
Tom Murphy The Skivies
When the Inactivists took stage, most of the band was wearing some piece of military gear because, well, it's a "War on Jazz Hands," right? But even that obvious gesture is just one layer of the ability of this band to use humor and sarcasm to express the absurd with great clarity. Opening with "Wannabe Dale Earnhardt," the Inactivists made us chuckle with a light-hearted evisceration of bad drivers with no sense of reality or care for other people on the road.
Tom Murphy Victoria Lundy of The Inactivists