Friends of Dean Martinez

Friends of Dean Martinez

Red Star, Ybor City, FL • 10.30.97

Best live use of a theremin this decade goes to…

The live show is entirely better than the CD, which is good, but requires some growing-on. At the show (bloody brilliant, by the way), the band has a much warmer sound, more of the delicious steel guitar that has that gyrating time-travel effect. One gets the distinct impression of ill-worn souls, blissful for the time being just to be playing. On the CD, the nothing-less-than-sublime cover of the Beach Boys’ “The Warmth of the Sun” casts a bizarre rosy-cheeked sunny glow over the album, and stands in direct contrast to the live pathos. FODM are a lounge lover’s dream, and they rather hate to be called that — Lounge Music. Perhaps it would help if they would stop making music that settles so cozily into that genre.

The band covered the Carpenters’ “Superstar” that night, and it saved my soul right then and there. They have a new drummer, who makes the whole ensemble that much more exciting. Woody Jackson did the usual stand-out job on a hollow-body. Bill Elm, who manipulated the theremin to a divine climax, also provided the stellar steel, that is when he wasn’t tripping over his pedals. FODM remedy what is wrong with much of what is being loosely referred to as music these days. All the specificity that accompanies lyrics is absent. Feel free to make your own interpretation.

As for the club: as if the pretentious post-commie flaming sign isn’t ludicrous enough, the moment we walked in, we noticed that every seat in the joint was “Reserved” with an American Express sign (I kid you not). Relegated to the Prole Section, a stretch of bench enough for 4 people facing away from the stage area, we waited for an hour for two spring rolls that turned out to be summer rolls. The show made up for it.

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