When I was offered a chance to review the Les Claypool Duo de Twang show this past Saturday at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky, I was definitely excited. I had seen Les twice before in different incarnations, but never in such an intimate setting. Les is best known as the lead singer and bass player in the band Primus. If you’re not familiar with him, he is a bass playing virtuoso and somewhat of a quirky, eccentric character. Each of the times I have seen him, I am amazed by his playing. His style is a combination of slapping and fingertapping on the bass, that comes out in a way that is uniquely Les. No one else sounds like. Anywhere. He often jumps between different bands that he fronts. This particular time he was with a duo dubbed Duo de Twang. The show was opened by a couple of pretty young girls dubbed The Reformed Whores. By the mood of the crowd it was going to be quite a night.
When The Reformed Whores took the stage I didn’t know what to expect. Turns out they were a highly entertaining music and comedy duo. The two ladies took the stage with a mandolin and an accordion. They proceeded to roll through songs about topics that would make your mother blush. From drunk dialing to personal hygiene, the Whores sang like sirens and cussed like sailors. The show was hilarious and the ladies were witty, as well as entertaining. If you get a chance to see The Reformed Whores, I definitely recommend you go.
The Reformed Whores photos by Mike Howard:
Then on to the main event. Duo de Twang took the stage in front of a faux fireplace and a huge ovation. The idea for the setting was to be a couple of guys sitting around a campfire and playing songs and shoot the breeze. Unfortunately for our photographer Mike Howard, the fireplace was the only lighting on the night. Duo de Twang consists of Les on bass, kick drum and vocals. As well as Bryan Kehoe on guitar and vocals. The acoustic setting was the perfect way to really hear the intricate bass lines and runs that Les is known for. It was obvious, very early on, that Les and Bryan were old friends and had a chemistry that really brought the songs to life. The setlist was an eclectic one featuring some big Primus songs. Such as Jerry was a Race Car Driver. It also consisted of many different styles of covers. The covers ranged from an incredible Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees, to Amos Moses by Jerry Reed. The show almost had a storytellers feel to it, as Les and Bryan both bantered with the crowd. Either telling stories about the songs, or having fun messing with individuals in the crowd. Les’s playing and vocals were as good as I have seen him. Bryan’s guitar playing was stellar as well, often times using a slide to add a bluesy feel.
They brought The Reformed Whores back out to sing on a cover of the surf rock classic Pipeline by The Ventures. The song that seemed to bring out the loudest cheers of the night through, was the opener of the encore, a cover of Alice in Chains classic Man in The Box. Each cover was made uniquely into their own by the superb playing and Les’s unique vocals.
As they started their last song, it seemed appropriate that it was another cover. Johnny Cash’s Cocaine Blues came out like a bolt of lightning. A truly powerful song to end the night on. As the last notes were hit, the crowd surged out onto the street. Content and happy at the show they had just seen. While it may not have been much of a night for photography, my ears were definitely smiling.
Keep up with Les Claypool and all of his projects here.
Click here for more information on The Reformed Whores.