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Published: 2001/06/27
by A.J. Abrams

Project/Object with special guests Al Schnier and Jim Loughlin- Wetlands, NYC 6/20


I Pound for Brown, Carolina Hard Core Ecstasy, Jones Crusher, Trouble
Every Day, Chungas Revenge>crazy improv jam, Andy>Inca Roads>San
Ber'dino>Pojama People, I'm the Slime, Peaches en Regalia

II Montana, Baby Snakes, Pygmy Twilight, Willie the Pimp, Dirty Love,
The Evil Prince, ?, Who Needs the Peace Corps, King Kong

Project/Object (P/O) closed out their June residency at Wetlands with
their tightest pure rock and roll show of the month. The band exploded
through two sets of raucous rip roaring rock. P/O's setlist seemed to
concentrate on Frank Zappa's rock songs in order to help their special
guests Al and Jim from moe. feel right at home.

Other P/O shows have featured a more diverse setlist to spotlight Zappa's
classical and jazz compositions. But this show was all about electric big
band rock. I like to think of P/O as an electric big band because they
have multiple layers of guitars, keyboards, synths and drums and
percussion. The stage is always packed instruments and the sound is
always dense and futuristic.

Sometimes P/O can get a little carried away with humor, political satire,
stage props and gags. But there was very little of that stuff during this
show, which in turn increased the quality of the music. The band was able
to concentrate on the music instead of the stage show.

Al wore a Zappa T shirt to climb into the deceased maestro's musical
mindset. Zappa's music is a challenge for any musician to play and Al
probably wanted to channel the spirit of Zappa to help him tackle the
task. With or without the Zappa T-shirts the moe. boys proved they are
indeed masterful musicians. Al and Jim passed the Zappa test with flying
colors. I've always been a moe. fan. But now I have even more respect for
moe. because they were able to play some of the most complex rock music
ever written.

The highlight of the show was the "One Size Fits All" segment
(Andy>Po-Jama People). This 1975 album is a potent mixture of progressive
rock and fusion that almost certainly was influential to moe. The four
songs segued into each other to form a suite of highlights from the
album. These songs, particularly Inca Roads, contain some of Zappa's most
beloved guitar solos. Al superbly stepped into Zappa's shoes as he let
loose some classic Zappa guitar solos. Both Al and Jim showed a complete
mastery of these songs and were the most musically active during this
segment. Every song was thunderous, powerful rock featuring lots of spine
tingling guitar solos. All three guitarists also teamed up to play
beautiful triple leads. Double lead guitars sound great but triple leads
sound even better! The three guitarists teamed up as one unit to
simultaneously squeal in Zappa ecstasy. For this suite of tunes moe. and
P/O played some trailblazing, supersonic, rock fusion.

P/O play Zappa music but they become their own unique band when they jam.
Sure Zappa wrote the music and the verses, chorus and heads of all the
songs. But P/O added electronic accents, textures, and sounds to help
paint the Zappa canvas. These are creative additions to the music that
are not present in the original Zappa versions. P/O embellished the
original songs with incredible improvisational insanity. For example
during Chunga's Revenge the jam careened from a hillbilly jam>reggae jam
>steel drum calypso jam> >heavy metal>reggae jam>heavy metal. Different genres morphed into different genres within seconds. This jam sounded similar to the cut and paste music of the band Naked City. It was very impressive to see eight different musicians pull off such tight improvisation full of zany music and
complicated time signatures. P/O and moe. became one tight team Zappa.

The second set didn't quite offer the same fire as the first set, mostly
because Al and Jim didn't seem as familiar with the songs. But there were
plenty of musicians on stage to take up the slack and create some Zappa
magic. It was still a sensational set of songs.
However, the hectic work/school week was catching up to everybody as it
was now after 1AM on a Wednesday night. But the Zappa classics would roll
on and on through the night to keep us awake. And with each song, the
audience was reminded just how unique Zappa's musical vision was and how
much he is missed. He can never be replaced, but P/O helps rekindle the
memories like no other band can.

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