Forever destined to go down as one of the most interesting live acts in the history of music, Cincinnati’s one and only Foxy Shazam have returned in full force to bring the GONZO experience to a city near you on their summer headlining tour with Larry and His Flask. I was lucky enough to photograph the traveling show as it made its stop in Philadelphia at the TLA last weekend.
Having arrived a little late, I was only able to catch the last song by local openers Cold Fronts, but from what I could see, they were a rather inviting indie rock band that appeared quite happy to be playing the room. I’ll definitely be checking them out the next time they play locally.
Before this night I had never seen Larry and His Flask, so I was unsure what to expect of their show. The only thing I knew about them was how talked-about their show is thanks to Foxy frontman Eric Nally, who claimed to be quite taken with them (thus adding them to this tour). Once the lights descended and the projector screen rose into oblivion, the band exploded into a frenzy of fast, almost chaotic, folk tunes. Complete with members who play the banjo, double bass, and even a drummer who has no seat, the Oregon sextet instantly reminded me of a healthy mix of Murder By Death and The Venetia Fair, creating nothing short of vaudevillian folk punk. They provided a wildly entertaining set and I hope to see them again in the very near future.
As I awaited the almighty Foxy Shazam, I was reminded by a fellow concertgoer that they would be performing two sets: the first being their brand new record GONZO in full, the second being older favorites. Needless to say, I was excited. I hadn’t been to a Foxy show since March of 2012 so I was itching for things to begin. Upon arrival, it was easy to see the various changes that GONZO‘s sound had brought to their live setting. Pianist Sky White’s epic beard was nothing but a (brace yourselves) regular beard while trumpeter Alex Nauth sported a thick chin-bush himself. Nally’s signature jet-black hair was on the blonde spectrum and his trademark mustache was nowhere to be seen. The design behind the performance of GONZO was rather industrial, with mic stands made of what looked like shelving metal and iron boxes for Nally to step up to the piano and drums on opposing sides of the stage. The entire performance was encased in a blue/purple hue to accompany the recent promotional theme of the record, which made photographing rather difficult. Nally’s stage banter was updated to fit in with their new tracks, which made for excitement to hear punchlines to jokes that may or may not exist. The band finished their first set with Nally explaining: “We’re gonna change our clothes and be right back.”
It should be known that even though the promoted lineup of the tour consists of just Foxy and Larry, there are really three wildly different performances involved. Once Foxy came back in their promised other outfits and began playing “Bombs Away”, it was like seeing a totally different band, the same one I had seen two years ago and beyond. The nostalgia rushed back and I was instantly happy(/ier) to see the guys in their usual element again. Their second set consisted of fan-favorite hits like “Oh Lord”, “The Temple”, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”, and of course “I Like It” and “Unstoppable”. The night just proved that even though a band can change for whatever reason, there’s no doubt that they’ll stay true to their foundation. Foxy Shazam and “GONZO Foxy” played together remarkably well and made a whole lot of fans very happy. And that’s the story told.
You can still catch Foxy Shazam and Larry and His Flask on the GONZO Tour! View the remaining dates here!