Review: ‘Thelonious Monster’

Hollywood hasn't been very good to Thelonious Monster. And the band reciprocated by becoming legendary for its in-fighting, substance abuse and the resultant fiascos, both onstage and off.

Hollywood hasn’t been very good to Thelonious Monster. And the band reciprocated by becoming legendary for its in-fighting, substance abuse and the resultant fiascos, both onstage and off.

Now, with a new deal on Capitol and an aptly titled album, “Beautiful Mess,” it looks as if the Monster has been tamed, if only in the sense that it may be winning the respect that eluded the band during its long stint in the L.A. clubs and through several trouble-plagued record deals.

This industry-heavy show was preceded by a party at the Rainbow–an unlikely hangout for underground denizens–but also a signal that Capitol is behind this bunch of former ne’er-do-wells.

The band’s live show, however, still retains the punk sensibilities that make Thelonious Monster a favorite at dives such as Hollywood Boulevard club Raji’s.

Lead singer Bob Forrest is an engaging frontman. During the Roxy set, he held a garage sale, tossing out books, records and other items, and was generally chatty and amusing, seemingly thrilled by the packed house.

At times augmented by a funky horn section that made the Monster sound like a ’70s soul band instead of the literate, degenerate ’90s post-punk group it is, the set ran a tad long.

Toward the end, the already loose atmosphere turned into a three-ring circus, with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and others joining the band on backup vocals and Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris doing an entire song with the group.

The highlights, though, were many. Of the band’s own material, the lilting but heavy “Body and Soul” sounds hit-bound, while “Blood Is Thicker Than Water,” the first single from “Beautiful Mess,” seems another winner.

On the amusing side–and Forrest is nothing if not clever–“Sammy Hagar Weekend” and “Song for a Politically Correct Girl from the Valley,” ostensibly written for Forrest’s ex gal-pal Julie Ritter of Mary’s Danish, were warmly received.

Thelonious Monster

(The Roxy; 450 capacity; $ 13 top)

Production

Promoted by GoldenVoice. Reviewed Nov. 12, 1992.

Cast

Band: Bob Forrest, Chris Handsome, Dix Denney, Don Burnet, Pete Weiss.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Legit News from Variety

Loading