MusicAbout 40 or so people turned out a while ago to hear the Ditty Bops play. I had a great time and thought it was a good show. Keith was somewhat less enthused, since it was a tad out of his musical comfort zone. Not too far, really, but sometimes the smallest step can seem like a great chasm. Nevertheless, it was a good show. (And he is awfully sweet to indulge me like that...)
The Troubadours of Divine Bliss opened, which made for an excellent fit between the two acts. The Troubs are as eccentric as the Bops are quirky, so they matched up quite well. Aim Me and Renee did a good mixed set of some of their more folky, guitar-driven material and some of the accordion-centered stuff. It worked well and was really enjoyable. They're a fun act to watch, because they can be so versatile. They tend to use that versatility as a strength to give their sets an eclectic, but not schizophrenic, feel. While they did stay pretty close to the Ditties' cartoon cabaret style, they threw in enough other stuff to keep things balanced.
It was good to catch up with Aim Me and Renee, whom we had not seen for a while. We need to catch more of their free shows on Sunday nights. (Consider this full disclosure—we do know the performers personally.)
The Ditty Bops took the stage almost as soon as the Troubs stopped playing, which I appreciated. I hate the lag between acts, as it sometimes gets to be unnecessarily long. Changing out gear is one thing, taking your dear sweet time is something else.
Throw a little bit of vaudeville, a dash of old-timey music, a healthy heaping of Betty Boop cartoons, a pinch of the Carter Family and other early country acts, and just a touch of modern irony and cynical humor and you’ve got the Ditty Bops. It's a concoction that works so well for them, resulting in quirky, catchy little tunes that they perform with enthusiasm and glee. Relationships never seem to go as expected in their tunes, and the worldview can be a little off-kilter, but everything is so fun to listen to and watch!
Their harmonies are impeccable. In fact, I was surprised to see them trading off lead vocal duties. From the CD, I had guessed that one of them did the lead, while the other provided the harmonies. They also have a really tight band, with an upright bass (any group with an upright bass is okay in my book), a drummer, and a guitar/violin/lap steel player. The guitarist/etc. was a little too annoying for me—not his playing, but his personality. Thankfully, He didn't say too much, but what he did say was truly aggravating. I really could have done without the part of the show where he made up a “poem” on the spot. The idea is a nice vaudevillian touch, but he doesn’t have the style or the panache to pull it off. That was the only real flaw in an otherwise fun show. The set was a great mix of stuff from their debut CD and things that aren't on it. I hope they record and release the other material soon!