Almost exactly a year ago last week, I saw Ed Burch and Viper and his Famous Orchestra play a house show at Hotel S'n'S. Last Friday, I saw another house show featuring Burch and Viper. This one was a release party of sorts (minus some delayed CDs) hosted by a familiar friend and musical collaborator of Edward's in Chicago. Ed was up first, with some songs in honor of Jay Bennett. He played selections from Jay and Ed's old band the Kennett Brothers, a couple off Jay's upcoming release Kicking at the Perfumed Air, a Courtesy Move song, and a lovely version of "Venus Stopped the Train" with full instrumentation and harmonies. Last year's show was very soon after Jay's passing, so it was nice to hear a set this year when things didn't feel so heavy and sad. It felt more like a celebration of Jay's music.
After a break (everyone was encouraged to try scones and watermelon), Viper and His Famous Orchestra came up. In addition to the numerous Wisconsin references in Viper originals, which I always enjoy, plenty of cover songs were sprinkled into the mix. From Miley Cyrus to Michael Jackson, Alex Chilton and Arthur Lee, much singing and dancing took place. There was even a song called "Uncle Bud," verses collected by Zora Neale Hurston. Woven throughout the set was a new song called "Sharkin'," only about forty seconds long at present. The band opened with it, and it was repeatedly requested for the rest of the evening. For good reason!
Also last weekend, back home in Madison: Art Fair on the Square and a hilarious Patton Oswalt show at the Majestic. Viva summer!