LIVE: The Ed Palermo Big Band @ the Falcon, 8/1/15
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
If you attend one of the Ed Palermo Big Band’s shows – this was my fourth – you musically expect the unexpected. Mash-ups and medleys of seemingly unrelated tunes concocted together into a bubbling spicy stew by conductor-arranger Palermo.
The big band’s latest gig at The Falcon in Marlboro was not only a non-stop audio extravaganza, but also a visual spectacle when Palermo & Co. paid tribute to the Beach Boys.
Wearing a 19th century men’s bathing suit, a safari helmet and a life ring, Palermo was a little less frenetic (although not much) conducting his virtuoso ensemble through another death-defying adventure in chart reading.
He was generally barefoot and standing in a small sandbox to better put himself, the band and in the audience in touch with the true spirit and inspiration of Beach Boys’ mastermind Brian Wilson.
The Beach Boys material focused primarily on selections from Pet Sounds and the post-Pet Sounds period. Along with the Beach Boys, music was also drawn from a wide range of other ’60s-centric pop and rock bands including Sly & the Family Stone, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Byrds, Lou Reed, King Crimson and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Additionally there were brief forays into the repertoire of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and, of course, a heaping helping of tunes culled from the vast repertoire of Palermo’s primary inspiration – Frank Zappa.
Guitarist Bruce McDaniel carried the load of performing the Beach Boys vocals with the support of the mighty horn section. Electric violinist Katie Jacoby – dressed in a sailor suit as well as having her own swim ring – displayed virtuosic skilles on her Viper, in addition to sharing the microphone with McDaniel.
The highlight of the evening was a performance of snippets of Jimi Hendrix compositions (“Little Miss Lover,” “Voodoo Child,” “Foxy Lady,” “Who Knows”) with Zappa’s “Big Swifty” and “King Kong,” all being performed simultaneously by different sections of the band. Bandleader Palermo humorously described that mash-up and the other madcap madleys that are the trademark of the band as “the positive aspects of ADHD.” I couldn’t agree more.
The band is slated for a return to The Falcon on Halloween night (Saturday, October 31), and who knows what they’ll have in store for that show, although Palermo hinted that some of the band’s possible future projects might be tributes to the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
ED PALERMO BIB BAND’S BEACH BOY BEACH PARTY SET LIST
Our Prayer (Beach Boys)
Sail On Sailor (Beach Boys)
Hot Fun in the Summertime (Sly and the Family Stone)
We Love You/Tomorrow Never Knows (Rolling Stones/Beatles)
As You Said (Jack Bruce with Cream)
Big Swifty #1 (Frank Zappa)
Heroes and Villains #1 (Beach Boys)
Wonderful (Beach Boys)
Heroes and Villains #2 (Beach Boys)
So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star/Eight Miles High (The Byrds)
Let’s Go Away for Awhile (Beach Boys)
Marqueson’s Chicken (Frank Zappa)
Milestone Mash-Up: Joshua, So What, Milestones, Impressions (Miles Davis)
In My Room (Beach Boys)
Stinkfoot (Frank Zappa)
Apostrophe (Frank Zappa)
Echidna’s Erf (Frank Zappa)
Surf’s Up (Beach Boys)
Sail On Sailor (Beach Boys)
Open Up Said the World to the Door (The Move)
G Spot/We Love You (FrankZappa/Rolling Stones)
Moggio Jam (Frank Zappa)
Walk On the Wild Side (Lou Reed)
Pet Sounds (Beach Boys)
Long Promised Road (Beach Boys)
Feel Flows (Beach Boys)
Big Swifty coda (Frank Zappa)
21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson)
Disney Girls (Beach Boys)
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times (Beach Boys)
Caroline, No (Beach Boys)
Hendrix/Zappa Mash-Up: Little Miss Lover, Voodoo Chile, Foxy Lady, Who Knows, Big Swifty, King Kong (all played simultaneously)
God Only Knows (Beach Boys)
Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing (Frank Zappa)
Esward, the Mad Shirt Grinder/Shove It Right In (Quicksilver Messenger Service/Frank Zappa)
The Wooly Mammoth Mash-Up
Zappa/Beach Boys Medley: Be True to Your School (Beach Boys), Status Back Baby (Frank Zappa), I Get Around (Beach Boys), Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Frank Zappa), Eddie, Are You Kidding? (Frank Zappa), April in Paris (Count Basie), Hot Fun in the Summertime (Sly & the Family Stone), Inca Roads (Frank Zappa)