Bustle In Your Hedgerow, Rocks Off Boat Cruise, NYC- 8/30
NYC ROLL-TOP: Sir Joe Russo vs. the Unicorns
"You know how I know unicorns are real…" the sign on the boat read, "there's one fucking my dolphin." Beneath that, an illustration of the same. Adorned with a rainbow. The signs — featuring the same image, with caption variations such as "it's a great situation when one partner is always horny and the other one is always wet" — were hung about the Temptress Cruise Ship in oblique commemoration of the birthday of Rocks Off promoter Jake Szufnarowski. Also celebrating Szufnarenki's birthday was a performance of super(cover)group Bustle In Your Hedgerow, whose audience members were subjected to the aforementioned unicorns.
First convened for a previous Sznufarawuffenstuff birthday fete, Bustle In Your Hedgerow consists of both members of the Benevento Russo Duo, wayward RANA/recently ex-Particle guitarist Scott Metzger, and Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz. In the only appearance of the summer 2006 edition (save a Chicago gig without Metzger), the quartet once again opened up the Led Zeppelin songbook in a way that — for many — could supplant listening to the same Zep albums over and over and over (so long as Bustle keeps playing semi-regularly). As the ship cruised around lower Manhattan and up to the base of the Statue of Liberty, the band camped under an interior balcony, stomping through the riffs and breakdowns that have become guitar rock's currency. Without vocals, the thunderous machismo-heavy grooves became (of all things) intimate, an unvocalized and collectively understood secret tongue. (What language do unicorns speak, anyway?)
There was little posturing from the musicians. Keyboardist Marco Benevento, his Hammond organ open in back, guts exposed, played with his head cocked to the side, watching. Behind the drums, Joe Russo slumped against the wall, head tilted back so he could peer through his glasses (perpetually slipped down his nose), his tongue stuck out. Mostly, they rocked, which is exactly what they were assembled to do. They played "The Immigrant Song," accelerating into bliss and "Moby Dick," Russo mimicking John Bonham's hands-free solo. (Metzger and Russo tag-teamed with Sarah Zimmerman and Eric Slick, first graduates of the real-life School of Rock, and now Adrian Belew's backing band, for "Traveling Riverside Blues.") They jammed "Ramble On," "Four Sticks," "Communication Breakdown," and a dozen other songs that don't need to be named.
As an encore, there was even a mini-set by Danjaboots, one of a half-dozen other Russo/Metzger projects first presented by Sznufjhzsfjh32 at various gigs. Though the two have only played a half-dozen times as a country duo, the crowd still seemed to know most of the words to Metzger's "Go Home Hippie." In the end, Sznufcobocobocobocobi seemed to have a nice birthday. One looks forward to the next, if only so he doesn't have to beg, steal, or borrow the whole Zep catalogue all over again.
Jesse Jarnow blogs at wunderkammern27.com.