Kid Creole & the Coconuts are on a roll. Their new album went Top 10 in England and their new stage show, pared of theatrical excess, is a riveting, nonstop series of visual and musical delights. Last night at the Wax Museum, the sold-out show opened with a half-hour medley of strong new songs and calypso jams by the 13-member troupe.
The three Coconuts and August (Kid Creole) Darnell entered in gray trench coats with valises, but soon shed them to reveal black negligees and a cream zoot suit. Standing behind monogrammed music stands, the three-man horn section played swing. Andy (Coatimundi) Hernandez led the tight rhythm section through tricky Caribbean syncopation while Peter Schott added New Wave keyboards. This strange brew churned up irresistible dance music, but Darnell subverted it with dark, sharp lyrics on the down side of love in songs like "Loving You Has Made a Fool Out of Me" and "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy."
Comedian Andy Evans opened the show by imitating Richard Pryor's topical humor. He hit all the topics but none of the humor. The Dynettes, a local female trio, followed with songs from girl groups of the early '60s. Whenever Martha Hull took the lead vocal, her gutsy alto retrieved the songs from nostalgia and restored their timeless emotional impulse.