Editors' pick

This is Your Brain on Rock and Roll

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This is Your Brain on Rock and Roll photo
Courtesy Capital Fringe Festival
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Editorial Review

Ed Hamell displays stream of consciousness extravaganza at Capital Fringe Festival

A few minutes into singer-songwriter Ed Hamell's Fringe show, audience members might have wondered if perhaps a prescription for ADHD medication might prove useful for the easily distracted musician.

"I haven't a clue what I'm doing," Hamell admitted matter-of-factly.

But stick with the stream of consciousness extravaganza "This Is Your Brain on Rock and Roll," playing through July 17, and you might count your lucky stars Hamell hasn't done a thing to moderate his frenetic demeanor.

"They locked me in a car with benzedrine and an espresso machine."

Well, that explains it. In 60 minutes, the singer, who often tours with alterna-folkster Ani DiFranco, covered plenty of territory. After a few snail jokes, Hamell proclaimed his love for sweat (lucky for him, because the Baldacchino is one steamy venue), launched into a lightning-fast spoken word performance about a drug dealer, instigated a singalong about Pat Robertson and revealed why the Wright Brothers didn't have much luck with the ladies. Things even got serious for a while, as the musician disclosed his anguish after the break-up of his 25-year marriage. But any traces of somberness faded once Hamell launched into an unflattering song about Ann Coulter's nether regions.

It may not have been tasteful, but it was certainly entertaining.

"I hope it made some sense to you," Hamell said to the audience, referring to the whole manic evening.

Maybe not, Ed, but sometimes sense is overrated.

-- Stephanie Merry