Friday, April 2, 2010

I don't know where I'd be if you weren't here with me...

When I look back at the time that has passed since my first Joe Iconis experience, The Blacksuits at SPF in '08, I'm embarrassed by how closely I've followed his career, how much money I've spent on his shows, and how much I adore just about every song that has worked its way into my brain. But I am not afraid to say that I am a huge fan of Joe's music and that I have never been so convinced that someone is destined for greatness. From his outlook on the business and his determination to keep his friends close, to the sheer talent of his music and the wit of his lyrics, if he creates something, I want to see it.

Needless to say, I have been highly anticipating Joe's latest show, a full length music done as a part of his residency at Ars Nova. Fully titled Bloodsong of Love: The Rock 'n' Roll Spaghetti Western, this show does not disappoint in bringing a distinctly Joe Iconis voice and presence to the stage in a hilarious, irreverent parody and send-up of the Spaghetti Western. For one thing, the usual suspects are all here, shining in their multiple roles. Eric William Morse gets his cowboy on, MK Lawson plays the camp out of her heroine role, and Jason "Sweet Tooth" Williams lends sweet vocals with some winking narration. Lance Rubin steals the show in countless areas as sidekick "Banana," and Jeremy Morse delights in creepiness and ruthlessness as the shows villain, while Katrina Rose Dideriksen brought the house down with a few choice notes and played a string of bizarre characters, including a footless prostitute.

The music, as always, was flawless. Not a weak song in the bunch with a lot of solid motifs that help carry the story through. There's the unforgiving rock undertone, but it gives way to a sound that sets the scenes for a Western show down. "Last on Land" only dazzles even more in context, and a string of other songs voices the dusty, worn hearts of an open road.

Anyone who has seen Joe's concerts will recognize some of his trademark humor throughout, and there are a few choice gags involving walks across the desert plain and lots and lots of blood.

Overall, it's a fun evening with a lot of unexpected twists. Believe the Bloodsong.


Z said...

I was wondering if you know anything about British emerging musical theatre. Obviously I understand the focus on NY, but I don't know where to find information about the same level of musicals and writers in London.

Kim said...

Hi, Z! Thanks so much for reading!

I have to admit that when I first saw this question, I was at a bit of a loss for an answer. Many of the composers I mention here I have been following for years and was little unsure about the current British musical theatre scene, especially coming from an outside perspective (I was out there a couple of years ago, but even then I just saw things in the West End and even the fringe shows I saw were productions of American composers).

However, I did a little sleuthing in the way I do when searching for news on American composers/writers and found a great source (I'm sure one of many). I tend to find a lot of the composers I cover through festivals where emerging writers can feature their stuff, and this sounds like a fantastic program in London: I found out about this program when I remembered that I saw (someone who I would definitely consider a young, up-and-coming British composer) Dougal Irvine's "Departure Lounge" at New York's Summer Play Festival last year. I highly suggest looking him up (he had another show with Pitch Perfect last year). Besides that, if there are any universities in London known for their musical writing programs, browsing through their alumni would be a great place to look. Many of the writers featured here come from UMich, NYU, or Northwestern, and I always know that those programs are great resources for finding new talent.

On my part, though, I will definitely try to cover British writers/composers where I can. Thanks for the question! This was quite helpful to me, as well.

Z said...

Thank you so much! This is great stuff to start from, and I just listened to the first Dougal Irvine song on YouTube and it's great. I don't have your hunting skills and strategy, so I'm really glad I asked.

Kim said...

Any time!