Another Bay Area musician will be concreting himself into the hall of fame of Bay Area greats, this New Years Eve.  Les Claypool will be performing his 20th New Years Eve concert this year, and he will be doing it with his original band, the one and only and all mighty Primus.

For me, this will be my sixth year seeing Claypool do his New Years Eve performance.  I jumped on the bandwagon for the 2005/2006 extravaganza at The Fillmore and haven’t dared look back ever since.  It was a wild night of blurry confusion that ended with a twisted rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s “Go Ask Alice,” where a group of white rabbits infiltrated the audience and began to dance with me.  Luckily, I was in a yellow jumpsuit so I got along with them really well.

Since then, his NYE show has taken fans to Santa Rosa, The Fillmore and even one year at the War Memorial Opera House where he split the bill with Zappa Plays Zappa.  For that occasion, Claypool treated guests to a full blown 3D movie behind the stage during the concert.  It was wild.

But none of that compares to what is going down this year to celebrate the 20th annual NYE celebration.  Unable to pack his bag of tricks into one night, Claypool is stretching this NYE into a two night run at the Fox Theatre in Oakland.

For the first night, Primus will be playing their second studio album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese in its entirety.  This classic album houses some of the Primus greats, such as Tommy the Cat, American Life and Eleven. 

But the real kicker for me and so many other fans of odd music is the surprise opening act, The Residents.  The Residents are from a world all of their own.  Started in the late 60s, this enigmatic troupe of musicians has been creating experimental music and performing bizarre shows entirely in costume for the span of their career.

Their fans define Cult Following, as this band which has never made it into the mainstream continues to sell out shows, produce new albums and devise new concepts and themes under which they perform.

Their original costume of choice was four large eye ball masks, worn by all members of the group.  Over the years they have evolved and changed and are currently in a new era where the singer is costumed in a robe and an old-man mask.  The keyboardist and guitarist are adorned in some sort of tentacle attire which is kind of hard to describe.  They have been touring for the past year with their Talking Light Tour.  I saw the opening show of this tour last January in Santa Cruz and it was mesmerizing and haunting.

Claypool has been a long time fan of The Residents and they have been a heavy influence on his own music for some time.  Primus has covered several of their songs over the years.  Having these two bands perform together is a wet dream for those who love bizarre and indefinable music.

Primus hasn’t performed a NYE show since 1999.  Les Claypool has been doing the annual freak outs with one of his many musical spawns.  Always a revolving door of musicians with a few mainstays, he performs under The Frog Brigade, The Fancy Band or just Les Claypool when he doesn’t want to label which ever group of musicians happens to be on stage that year.

So, once again all the stops are being pulled out for the 20th anniversary.  As the poster says, Les Claypool’s Fancy Brigade will opening for Primus on NYE.  Well, this is just too much to handle.  A Claypool fan’s ultimate dream, come true.  It is unspecified exactly who will be the meat of this Fancy Brigade, but I have a few hunches. 

It would be too much for me to delve into the workings of the Claypool family of musicians, as it is like a soap opera that requires a lot of explaining and may prove to be boring once in text.

Alright, I’ll just say it.  This is my hunch for the Fancy Brigade:  Les Claypool-bass, vocals; Eenor-guitar; Jay Lane-drums; Skerik-saxophone; Mike D-percussion; Gabby La La-sitar.

Mike D and Skerik will already be there that night as the first openers, performing in their other band The Dead Kenny Gs.  Eenor could be replaced by Brian Kehoe on guitar and Paulo Baldi could drum instead of Jay Lane.  But, since Jay Lane is now the drummer for Primus, it would make sense to only have to set up one drum kit.  You see what I’m saying?  There is a lot of moving around in these musical circles.

Oh yeah, Sam Bass might be there to play cello too.  Or what if Todd Huth shows up?  Or Adam Gates? Or MIRV?  The possibilities are endless and for me, my mind is in a whirl of day dreaming excitement.  Soon, those day dreams will become nightmares and the freaky madness will ensue.  Good lord, what if Buckethead made an appearance?  That really would be too much, or maybe just right.  Hmm?

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