Fischerspooner at the 9:30 Club Fischerspooner, the creation of Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner, is less a music group than a gimmicky art troupe that sets a phantasmagoric stage show to hyperspeed beats and electronic squalls.
Fischerspooner's brief but entertaining concert at the 9:30 club Sunday night featured four dancers wearing macabre black outfits and giant silvery, spiky feathers in their hair, and included a fair amount of blood-spewing (presumably fake). It all gave the performance the feel of an electronica spinoff of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
With his longish, bleached-white wig and powdered-white face, Spooner looked a bit like Billy Idol gone to seed. Half-singing and half lip-syncing through "Emerge" and "L.A. Song," he was an amusing frontman for the exhilarating, though often repetitive, music. Joining the dancers and two backup singers in the elaborate choreography, he seemed to both celebrate the electronic dance scene and poke fun at its pretentiousness. At one point he bummed a cigarette from a fan and then made a face. "Eww, it's clove. I'm not that arty."
Fischer, the wizard of this postmodern Oz affair, stayed at the soundboard at the rear of the club, twiddling knobs and directing stage traffic. With the fog machines, confetti blasts and myriad light displays, the show was silly and campy and more than a bit goofy. But to quote from a Fischerspooner song, "It sounds good, looks good, feels good, too."
-- Joe Heim
Funk Bros. at Lisner Auditorium Acrew of musicians from Motown competitor Philly International filled out the Funk Brothers' lineup at Lisner Auditorium on Sunday night. The six survivors from Motown's house band -- Joe Hunter, Jack Ashford, Uriel Jones, Bob Babbitt, Eddie Willis and Joe Messina -- stood out among a stageful of talent, in their smart red jackets. But while the film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" put the Brothers in the spotlight, the concert revealed them once more giving themselves to the world as backing musicians.
"Name" talent provided a small though integral part of the evening. Joan Osborne bounced through "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" and crooned a soulful "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." Girl-group legend Darlene Love offered up a voice even bolder than her glitter-shot reptile-print pants. Only a too-laid-back Maxi Priest seemed a little overwhelmed by the unenviable task of crooning "Mercy, Mercy Me" and "What's Going On" in Marvin Gaye's home town.
In this alternate musical universe, a trio of backing-vocalists-turned- headliners provided the evening's strongest voices, especially when giving up the funk for a D.C. crowd. Delbert Nelson offered a jubilant "Shotgun," Carla Benson sizzled through "Function at the Junction," and a judicial-robed Johnny Ingram convicted the brothers of funk in "Here Comes the Judge."
But the whole room was guilty. Ashford declared early on, "You will be part of the band." When Love pointed the mic at the crowd for "My Guy," Ingram brought a volunteer onstage to sing "My Girl," and an octet of audience members backed Benson on a medley of "stomp" songs, it became clear that years of shower solos and AM radio singalongs had prepared all of us to step out of the shadows and celebrate sweet soul music.
-- Pamela Murray Winters