Wacky Canadians, plus Rokenrol

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Posted by Michael Duck at 2:06:08 AM on August 6, 2006

Vegetables live in oppression,
served on our tables each night.
This killing of veggies is madness,
I say we take up the fight.

Salads are only for murderers,
coleslaw's a fascist regime.
Don't think that they don't have feelings,
just cause a radish can't scream.

So say the highly entertaining Arrogant Worms in their song "Carrot Juice is Murder." I caught part of their show at Liederplatz yesterday evening in between work on Sunday morning's story. Well worth the effort.

Most of this Canadian trio's songs are just plain goofy ("Jesus' Brother Bob," "Last Saskatchewan Pirate"), but they threw in some topical humor, too. During "Mounted Animal Nature Trail," about a taxidermy-themed roadside attraction ("Sort of a low-maintenance zoo," they explained), part of the crowd stubbornly refused to play along with one of the jokes — or maybe they were just too drunk to understand it was a joke.

"That 'No Child Left Behind' thing isn't working so well, is it?" quipped one of the guys (I think it was singer/bassist Chris Patterson; it's hard to take clear notes while laughing).

Another highlight was "I Am Cow," which featured three-part harmonies so perfect, so church-like, so breathtaking that they almost made me forget it was a song about ... um, teats and bovine flatulence.

I also grabbed a few minutes at Volksplatz with Musikfest fixtures the Red Elvises. These guys are skilled musicians, but what really sells them is the live show. Something about rock music plus great stage presence plus Russian accents just makes for solid entertainment.

"Next song is called 'Sad Cowboy Song'" bassist Oleg Bernov announced, sending the crowd into a screaming, cheering fit.

For those who haven't heard it yet, the song's about a cowboy who grew up in Chernobyl with the wacky results of nuclear fallout. (Sample lyric, about the cowboy's girlfriend: "I gave her a ring, she gave me the finger." Har!)

Bernov went on, inviting everyone to dance. "That is what real cowboys do," he explained in not-quite-broken English. "They start a Conga Line! Because, [long pause] you know, [long pause] they have nothing else to do."

The group later invited at least a dozen women onstage for their signature song, "I Wanna See You Bellydance." (You can download the free mp3 from this page; it's about 2/3 of the way down.)

You haven't lived until you've heard a guy with a thick Russian accent shout to a stage full of women, "Oh, shake it baby!"


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My family loves the Red Elvises. We always plan our Musikfest schedule around them. Our 8-year-old granddaughter was standing on her chair and screaming along with the rest of the audience. It's impossible not to have fun with the Red Elvises because it's obvious that they're having fun! This year they've added a terrific keyboard/accordian player (the first female Red Elvis) and a new drummer (from Minnesota).

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Michael Duck
Michael Duck is a mild-mannered Morning Call reporter and closeted rock star. Hidden talents include playing guitar, rapping and remembering the words to "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)."
Daryl Nerl
Daryl Nerl, known around the Bethlehem bureau as "The Bensonhurst Bloviator," is a peerless political reporter who joined The Morning Call in 1998. In those rare moments when he's not talking about the Mets, you'll find he also knows something about music.
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