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Dweezil Zappa - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 12/11/2012

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 29 / 10 / 2012

Dweezil Zappa - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 12/11/2012


Dave Goodwin finds both passionate and moving Zappa Plays Zappa, Dweezil Zappa's tribute to his late father Frank, at a gig at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham

I seem to have this fear of bands that were before and that have gone on again after, if you know what I mean. The current resurgence of 80's bands partly makes my point. They were great in the Eighties. That's why I have a massive love of 80's stuff. But what if that band doesn't have its lead singer anymore? I don't want to, however, pinpoint this to strictly 80's line-ups. It could be the same for any band that I was going to see. But, you see, in this case there's the other side of this. Zappa Plays Zappa is not just any old band, is it? It's the band of the son of one of the greatest musicians that ever graced the earth. And that sparked another drama deep within my head. Without meaning to disrespect anyone, how could it be the same? Frank Zappa was a one off. An odd egg. It was then that it hit me. This wasn't supposed to be the Real McCoy. It has been loosely advertised as a tribute to the late man. And there was another thing....I'm not really into tribute bands, to be honest. This is one gig where I was going to have to take the photographs, and then sit down and forget all I'd ever known. One thing was for sure as the show opened was that I wasn't going to witness any of Zappa Snr's intricate, madcap, sophisticated work due to the legend’s death from prostate cancer in 1993. What was on offer from the start was more calm, cool and laidback but very together. Zappa Plays Zappa first debuted in 2006 with shows in Europe, Canada and the United States, presenting a collection of Frank Zappa's rock-oriented compositions from the 1960s to the 1980s. Enter one Dweezil Zappa. With a constant smile on his face and acknowledgements for every piece of brilliance from either this member or that member of what can only be described as his well gifted band of musicians, Dweezil guided me through and past my original concerns and anxieties, and lead them to a better place. They started with a towering version of 'Treacherous Cretins' which for anyone else out there with as much consternation as me hit the mark straightaway. The group proved instantly that this was going to be no ordinary night. Ben Thomas has been doing the vocals for a long time now and he and the rest of group, with the consummate ease of Dweezil's wondrous guitar playing, glided through what was going to be well over two hours of sheer and utter magical experience after experience. Strategically placed within the set were some well received 60’s gems. 'Oh No, Idiot Bastard Son’ and ‘Who are the Brain Police?' were coupled together with jokes and anecdotes not only from Dweezil, but from all the members of the band. The humour and sarcasm and theatrics were out in force. From start to end, the six-piece group was continually fooling and clowning around and generally having a good time. Things mellowed out and the tears began to flow as Dweezil led the band through the wonderful instrumental, 'Strictly Genteel'. Zappa Snr produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist, and it came as a special treat to all present to learn that this was his favourite piece of self-written work. It was particularly moving to see the master guitar player that Dweezil now is shed a few tears in remembrance. Back in 1967, Frank married for the second time to Adelaide Sloatman, and remained with her until his death from prostate cancer in 1993. I see why his son and his band are doing what they are doing now. What better way to get his father's music heard. His band are quite clearly a fantastic bunch of multi-talented musicians. I have decided for myself that they are not actually a tribute act. They are more that. They are and act in tribute to one who could not be present at the time. Zappa Snr is greatly missed. That is obvious from the crowd’s response. His many, many fans should and will miss him for a long time to come still, but his music lives on. And that's it for me/ That's the point. His music LIVES on for all to see in the marvel that is Dweezil. Set List; Treacherous Cretins Hungry Freaks Daddy Teenage Prostitute Echidna's Arf Penguin in Bondage Pygmy Twylyte Idiot Bastard Son I'm So Cute Baby Snakes Try to Grow a Chin Harder Than Your Husband Gas Station Ride My Face to Chicago Motherly Love Oh No Let's Make the Water Turn Black Take Your Clothes Off While You Dance Outside Now Debra Kadabra Who are the Brain Police? Sofa Packard Goose Peaches En Regalia Zombie Woof Strictly Genteel The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Dave Goodwin.

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