Show Me Burlesque provided a fantastic opening for the evening. The head honcho of the troupe, Lola Van Ella, pulled double duty as emcee and performed a playful song and dance routine as the first act, followed by Gogo McGregor and her sultry fan dance, Tessa Von Twinkle’s fun routine and finally Gravity Plays Favorites finished up with an impressive aerial pole dance.
The Show Me Burlesque set was a great glimpse into the past, where vaudeville and burlesque acts were the center of American theater. All four acts in the set were striptease performances done in a tasteful and artistic way and set the perfect mood for the bawdy innuendo of Here Come the Mummies.
Marching in from the Suite 101 entrance and winding their way through the crowd in a drum procession immediately before taking the stage, the nine members of Here Come the Mummies had the crowd on their feet and moving before the first song began. From the first few notes of "Believe (In Things You Cannot See)" it was obvious that despite the costumes this group was not just leaning on a gimmick; these boys had real chops.
The horn section was tighter than the cloth they were wrapped in and the rhythm section could not have been more in sync if they'd tried. Trumpeter Oozie Mummy, guitarist Mummy Cass and percussionist Java handled lead vocals, each one lending his distinct voice to various songs. Their harmonizing was stellar, especially the high notes coming out of Oozie's mouth. I have to single Rah out as my favorite mummy. The honking and wailing coming out of his sax was spine-tingling and every solo he played was better than the last.
Here Come the Mummies played a variety of songs from their discography, including "That's What She Said" and "Jump on my Ship" along with the title track from their new album "Bed, Bath, and Behind." They also performed fan favorites like "Pants," "Single Entendre" and "Attack of the Weiner Man." True to form, their humorous, innuendo-filled lyrics often referenced ancient Egypt, funk or various lewd activities.
The band played for two hours, leaping from one song into the next without any breaks or pauses. That is a feat that is rarely seen these days, especially when you consider the amount of dancing and acting going on in their set. Here Come the Mummies are the modern equivalent of the classic 1970s funk and soul show band, plain and simple. Every member was dancing, leaping or bounding around the stage whether dancing in unison or acting out part of the lyrics. Props were in abundance as well, with a visit from sexual stuntman Libido Knievel, Java playing the Cowbelt (a waist-mounted cowbell played using hip thrusts) or saxophonist the Flu playing a solo while riding around on a wheeled sphinx.
The crowd was moving and grooving to the funk all night. Even the folks in the seats, myself included, were unable to resist moving to the sounds coming down from the stage. After they played their last song and left the stage, the cheers and calls for an encore were louder than the band had been all night.
Returning to the stage, the band played "Wonders of the World" and marched out the same way they'd marched in, hanging out in Suite 101 for a while to mingle with their fans. After the performance, I didn't see a single person leave the Pageant without a smile on their face.
Believe (In Things You Cannot See)
Jump on my Ship
Eye of Horus
Funky Little Baby
That's What She Said
Bed Bath and Behind
Attack of the Wiener Man
Boom Boom Room
Single Double Triple
Wonders of the World