Mr. Quintron

Saturday, May 20; Side Door

May 17, 2000 at 4:00 am
The guy deserves a few demerits in the book of any St. Louis music enthusiast, because, as much as he hates to have it known, he's from North County -- Ferguson or Florissant or someplace -- but seldom acknowledges his River City roots. He went to Mizzou and played in some bands there, no biggie. But then, mysteriously, he ducked into a phone booth, uttered a few hoodoo-voodoo spells, clicked his heels a few times as he was picking his nose and, voilà, out leaped a skinny freak in tigerskin briefs and white patent-leather shoes: Mr. Quintron, organist extraordinaire.

A one-man band/sideshow, Mr. Quintron, who lives in New Orleans now, has released a couple of brilliantly fucked-up records (Satan Is Real, These Hands of Mine and The Amazing Spellcaster) that showcase his love of cheapo organs, the kind that every household had in the '70s, with preset white-trash rhythms and that quasi-Baptist-pipe-organ sound. On this, Quintron goes nuts. He becomes possessed by an instrument designed for conservative old-lady types, losing himself with the fervor of a snake-handler as he sings his pumped- up dance songs. It's one of the most baffling and inspiring evenings of music you'll ever witness; it's hard to tell how much of it is affectionate camp, how much is performance art and how much is a genuine love of wood-paneled Americana. But it doesn't matter, because you'll be so transfixed by the Amazing Spellcaster Mr. Quintron that that sort of analysis will seem pointless.

Quintron is always accompanied by the lovely Miss Pussycat, whose equally inspired puppet shows are the perfect opening to an evening of creative heaven. If you want to have some honest-to-goodness fun on a Saturday night in St. Louis, this is the spot.