Concert review: Foxy Shazam rampages through Off Broadway, Monday, February 13
The faithful nearly filled Off Broadway despite the elements to catch Cincinnati-based Foxy Shazam. Lead singer Eric Nally revels in the role of glam preacher man, clad in skin-tight head-to-toe black.
He warned that “bad voodoo” might make this the band’s last show for awhile (even though they’re opening for the Darkness in Denver tomorrow). Still, the band launched into the new album’s title track, “Welcome to the Church of Rock and Roll,” with apocalyptic fervor they maintained through 2010′s “Oh Lord.”
Foxy Shazam plays every song like an encore, leading chanting sing-alongs that work the audience into a crowd-surfing frenzy with their trombone-licking, amp-climbing, non-stop antics through songs like “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and “Holy Touch.”
Nally has a penchant for rehashing old stories and jokes between songs, ones that you know you’ve heard somewhere before, whether it was at a previous Foxy Shazam show or from your tipsy great-uncle last Thanksgiving. Donning “a cowboy hat that reminds me of ‘Tron’,” Nally had the lights dimmed while in his light-trimmed hat he told “a joke that’s not a funny joke.” “Don’t laugh” he admonished before telling a story of a man who enters a bar, downs 12 shots of whiskey, then wanders onto a stage with a lighted hat.
“The only difference between me and a scholar is how much we paid for what we know,” Nally said, perched on top of keyboardist Sky White as the band eased into the intro of Gary Glitter’s “Rock n’ Roll, Pt. 2″ that morphed into anthemic “Unstoppable.”
The only time Nally slowed down was to sing about his family that defies his glam machismo. “This is the most important song we’ve recorded, and we’re not going to jump around like monkeys. We’re going to play it like men,” he prefaced “Forever Together,” his most recent pining heartbreaker about missing his family. It’s a sharp contrast to the manic frenzy of the rest of Foxy Shazam’s set. Coupled with a tall tale Nally told about hanging up on his manager repeatedly because he wanted to be home with his family instead of on the road, Nally buffers his stage bravado with the conflicted heart of a family man trying to balance his art and life.
He’s back to the sex-fueled frontman for “5-4-3-2-1,” telling drummer Aaron McVeigh to “slow it down for the ladies,” producing a hard-thrusting extended ending well-suited for a family man’s procreation.
Through “The Temple” and “Ghost Animals” melding into “Killin’ It,” Nally and company increased the stage antics without letting the orchestration of their music slip. For all their acrobatics, the six-piece maintains consistent musicianship that keeps their stage schtick fresh. Nally climbed atop an amplifier — a regular perch for him — and asked for cigarettes from the audience. “I don’t usually smoke, but I’m feeling bad,” he said after lightening multiple smokes simultaneously, then dousing them in a fire-eating spray of sparks. During the firestorm, White passed his keyboard into the crowd, where the audience held it aloft while he played.
After the chaos, Nally announced he needed to take off his jacket, while men in the audience screamed for him to disrobe further. He didn’t. Instead, he announced that the next song “is about being trapped between a bed and a woman,” before erupting into current single “I Like It” with the crowd screaming along: “That’s the biggest black ass I’ve ever seen! And I like it. I like it,” ending with a raggedly breathless Nally groaning over and over, “I wanna stick my tongue in it. I wanna stick my tongue in it.”
He transitioned into musings on Victoria’s Secret (“The secret is tits, ass and pussy.”) before the loveless sex romp “The Only Way to My Heart… .” White again passed his keyboards to the audience, pounding away while locking eyes with a crowd surfer who stretched her arms towards him through the song, embodying the throbbing sense of longing that didn’t abate when the band abruptly left the stage after a mere 50 minutes.
They returned quickly with the patriotic “Freedom,” followed by chanting, “All God’s children! All God’s children!” into “NO! Don’t Shoot.” Mid-song, Nally climbed the amps, grabbed the lighting rig at the back of the stage, and swung himself upside-down.
Grounded again, Foxy Shazam blasted through “Bombs Away” with Nally asking at the end, “Did you all cum yet, because we gotta go.”
Only an hour after taking the stage, they were gone, leaving a hot, sweaty, sated crowd, wet from the condensation that dripped from the club’s ceiling — if not from the rock ‘n’ roll.