The Residents are still weird
By Audra Schroeder, 11:48AM, Wed. Feb. 3, 2010
OPEN IMAGE GALLERY
After 40 years as a "group" and an avalanche of unclassifiable albums, pop deconstructionists the Residents have had no problem reaching "myth" status, eschewing identity and structure in favor of touching the raw nerve. The good news: Last night's bizarro affair at Stubb's was as close as they'll ever get to VH1's Storytellers.
The stage featured a couch, fireplace, TV breathing static, and three glowing orbs, ostensibly referencing the group's long-gone eyeball costumes. Backed by just a guitarist and keyboardist, the masked singer told tales of dead babies and "mirror people" and feeding someone to death, flashing images of similarly creepy people on the three screens behind him. I couldn't help thinking he looked like an extra from a Rob Zombie movie, and the other two like dudes who got kicked out of Slipknot.
There were a lot of "Huh"s. Because the 90-minute set revolved around aesthetics more so than "songs," "Six More Miles (To the Graveyard)," "Semolina," and "Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie" took on an awkward pacing, sinking into the minimalist design rather than narrating. The Residents are, essentially, an art project that worked, but that didn't always translate.
I suppose last night would have been considered "weird" or "edgy" in, say, 1980, but it felt a bit corny in 2010. The Residents have always represented "none of the above" better on paper and in theory.