Foxy Shazam's live show is well-known for being over-the-top. But few in the crowd were prepared for the Cincinnati band's stellar performance last night as the opener for Hole. Before launching into "Wanna-Be Angel," vocalist Eric Sean Nally somersaulted and crouch-walked across the Pageant's stage, his spindly, red-pants-clad legs churning like a skittering spider.
That was nothing compared to the 35-minute spectacle which followed, though. Foxy Shazam ripped through tunes from its new, self-titled album, which is a theatrical cocktail of glam, classic rock, prog, punk, post-punk and glitter-rock. "Count Me Out" sounded like the Blood Brothers on a Queen binge, while "Bombs Away" - prefaced with a snippet of Sublime's "What I Got" - was a screaming metallic gem.
Nally's onstage character is, well, a character. (And in direct contrast to his earnest, soft-spoken interview demeanor.) During a break between songs, someone in the crowd wailed, "Courtneyyyy!" and he yelled, "Shut up!" With a faint Southern drawl, he later introduced "Bye Bye Symphony" as having been written "in the back of a pick-up truck going 90 miles per hour" and then dedicated it to "Miley." (Cyrus, perhaps?) Nally's humor is dry and subtle, and it was clear that taking what he said at face value wouldn't be wise. It was also totally an acquired taste; people in the crowd seemed to either love or loathe the band.
Yet Foxy Shazam's show would be more irritating if its music wasn't so much fun. The band - sporting ragtag fashion reminiscent of the cast of RENT - ably matched Nally's theatrics. By the set-closing "The Only Way to My Heart," keyboardist Sky White was standing on his instrument; Nally had a cymbal on his head and trumpeter Alex Nauth was headbanging. With a pointed a cappella Beach Boys note from Nally -- "If everybody had an ocean, we'd be surfing U.S.A." -- the set was over. Wham, bam, Foxy Shazam.
Foxy Shazam setlist: "Wanna-Be Angel" "Unstoppable" "Count Me Out" "Oh Lord" "Bye Bye Symphony" "Bombs Away" "Killin It" "The Only Way to My Heart"