with Soul Junk
40 Watt Club, Athens, GA • 7.6.98
I’ve got to say up front the Danielson Family (who sometimes spell it “Famile”) are currently one of my favorite bands. I usually don’t even get that excited about shows these days. You know, being let down so often and all. However, I was looking at my watch all day, and fidgeting like a 10 year old waiting for this show.
Soul Junk came out and did a free style rap/chant through the sparse audience. They had a boom box and a breakdancer (who later played the bass guitar). At first they were entertaining, but that wore off after they actually took the stage and frankly, bored me to tears. The lyrics were incredibly condescending and just not very good. ‘Nuff said.
Finally, the Danielson Family came on, and knocked me on my BUTT! The best way to describe the youngsters is Devo meets the Divine Miss “M” at a tent revival. Daniel, the spiritual guide, plays an acoustic with all of the fervor of a Surfer Rosa Black Francis. Brother David, who is years away from being legal, is a Starr, as in Ringo. His beat is right on. Adopted brother Chris plays new wave organ that would make Blondie jealous.
What makes the whole thing amazing and insane with a touch of vaudeville are sisters Megan and Rachel who add background vocals, bells, and flute, and occasionally, a shaker. These siblings have brilliant choreographed moves which gives off that Bette Midler air, and Rachel looks a bit like the bawdy Divine Miss “M” anyway. Okay, so where does the Devo connotation come in? Well, this family wears uniforms with their names in blood red on them. Oh, and these are old style doctor’s and nurse’s uniforms. Daniel feels their music heals people, so that’s the reason behind it. However, at times they seem to laugh at themselves, like the B-52s or Devo. At the same time, Daniel is as manic as a pre-Reagan David Byrne. I wasn’t even that upset that they didn’t do two of my favorite songs, and that the youngest, Andrew, wasn’t along because of the length of the tour (he’s only 14).
Oh… did I mention they’re a demented Christian band?