Dweezil Zappa and his tour, "Zappa Plays Zappa," came through the Bijou last Thursday in a performance that would have made his father proud.
The late Frank Zappa was a prolific songwriter and composer who produced over 60 albums in his 30-year long career. Zappa Plays Zappa was formed by Dweezil in 2006 with the idea of paying homage to his father and carrying on his somewhat obscure legacy.
Frank, known for his virtuoso guitar work, satirical and often humorous lyrics, and genius compositions left some big shoes to fill but as soon as the band opened with the familiar groove of "Montana" it was apparent they were channeling that strange Zappa energy precisely.
Joey McKee, senior in psychology, and a dedicated concert-goer and interns mixing sound at the WDVX radio station, placed Thursday in his top-five concerts.
"I'm sad I was too young to see Frank, but the band and Dweezil emulate all the shows I've listened to and DVDs I've watched," he said.
ZPZ is a meticulously tight group. Every rhythmic challenge, such as the formidable melody in "Dirty Love," was met with confident and energetic precision.
The band itself seemed to be having infinite amounts of fun onstage despite the slightly tamer seated arrangement, as opposed to the type of energy found at a general admission venue.
Bassist Kurt Morgan, who did an awesome job on the bass solo of "Apostrophe," said of the performance, "Tonight it was so dialed in for me. It was an interesting experience."
On guitar, Dweezil is definitely his father's son. ZPZ performed "The Black Page," a song noted for the extreme difficulty of its guitar melody. Dweezil said onstage that it took him over a year to learn the melody at tempo. "I'm the Slime," a song written as a social commentary on television as "a tool of the government and industry too," was soloed skillfully by the young Zappa.
The band, accompanied by an interesting anecdote of Eddie Van Halen paying a visit to the Zappa residence, pulled out a cover of Van Halen's "Eruption" as well as "Somebody Get Me a Doctor." The latter song entailed a character dressed in a blonde wig and spandex one-piece belting the lyrics and committing general acts of 80's hair-band foolery onstage.
The band's encore included the 1969 jam recording, "The Gumbo Variations" and the band said their goodbyes closing an impressive performance. And it's safe to say the Zappa legacy is alive and well in Dweezil.