Show Review: Dead Man’s Bones at Bimbo’s 365 Club, 10/27/2009

by Marie Carney on October 28, 2009

Ryan Gosling directing the choir in front of the beautiful backdrop

Ryan Gosling directing the choir in front of the beautiful backdrop

Dead Man’s Bones is an interesting musical project brought to you by actor Ryan Gosling, of Mickey Mouse Club/Young Hercules/Lars and the Real Girl fame (what? The Notebook? What’s that?), and friend Zach Shields. It is dark gothic music accompanied by a children’s choir. It may sound kitschy and weird, which it is, but it is also wonderful and skillfully arranged. Underneath all the macabre cheese is a strong beating heart that keeps the project as more than a throw away joke. This show would silence any doubters. Dead Man’s Bones is a real, and excellent, band.

The opener was billed as “Talent Show” and that’s exactly what it was, a parade of local variety show-esque performers of varying quality (Okay, they were all good, I just personally find dancers boring). The show opened with two ghosts, one on guitar and one on vocals. There was a heartfelt gothic-Elvis version of “Like a Virgin” that was pretty amazing. Then the singing ghost continued on as MC. Next was a mentalist called The Great Chris-dini who did a comedic mentalist act with a very charming audience member called Jewelry (yes, really). Very funny stuff. Next up was boring dancer who’s name I don’t remember (sorry boring dancer!). Last and certainly not least was Frau Frankenstein who was dressed as you imagine and played the accordion. She also had an amazingly in character Igor assistant, and it was comedic gold! I would have paid the $16 ticket just to watch her play the theramin with her butt while standing on a chair labeled “Das Mountain” while Igor stood behind her grinning stupidly and reverently. So good!

Then Zach and Ryan came on stage and did another song with the ghost singer and I thought again he might have been the ghost of Elvis if it wasn’t for his strange accent while speaking. The intro to Dead Man’s Bones actual set just kind of happened from there starting with a Disney’s Haunted Mansion recording (yes!). This also was the beginning of various overly-hormoned female heckling and Mr. Gosling’s well timed responses. “You guys are foxy!” screams horny girl number one, “gees mom!” Gosling mumbles ashamedly into the mic. I would like to take this moment to say that yes, they are foxy. Zach Shields and Ryan Gosling are extremely good looking men. The obvious does not need to be stated, but the tizzy that girls were getting into was really really really funny.

The songs translate better live as opposed to the Halloween mood tracks it can sound like on record. The four great songs on the record continued to be great, but the other songs that I often skip on the album were more interesting, maybe because live the melody is drawn forward and not hidden behind so many spooky sounds. The band was great, and everyone onstage was fun to watch. Zach and Ryan trade lead vocals, guitar, drums while Ryan also plays piano and keyboards. There was an amazing woman who sang backup, played piano and flute and was an all around goddess of the stage, but I missed her name and can’t find it online (It is Andye Jamieson, thanks commenter and choirmaster Peter Hopkins!). She was amazing!  The band was rounded out with Zach’s cousin on drums and Jason 71 on bass, and of course, the children’s choir.

The children’s choir tonight was the Canabile Youth Singers of Los Altos and they did a fine job. Super cute in their costume robes (white with black hearts) and skeleton make-up. They seemed super nervous at the beginning, but by the end of the show they were loose and dancing around. My favortie from the choir was a future star named Katarina who, by the end of the night, was dancing like there was no tomorrow and making gestures out at the audience. If I was in a choir with her, or her choir director, I would have been mad for the unprofessionalism, but as an audience member it was adorable.

Overall the show was so good I forgot to leave my reviewers hat on and just gazed reverently at the stage enjoying the experience. Really it was only marred by occasional drunk girl screaming, but since the rest of the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves in a pleasant music fan way it wasn’t too bad. What surprised me the most though was Ryan Gosling’s witty stage banter. He is a very funny man, and he plays off Zach and the audience very well. With music like theirs I was a little afraid they would take themselves too seriously, but they didn’t at all. The whole show was a perfect combination of macabre, humor and talent.

There are only two shows left on the tour, both this weekend at the Echo in Los Angeles. I beg any of the LA area people reading this to go to the show. It was amazing. Whatever Halloween party plans you may have, I assure you, this show will be better. And I assume the Silverlake Children’s Choir will be there, who sang on the album, which will make it an extra special time.

If you live anywhere else, you’ve already missed Dead Man’s Bones, so here’s a video, it’s all I can give you:

Dead Man’s Bones Setlist:

Flowers Grow Out of my Grave
In the Room Where You Sleep
Dead Hearts
Lose Your Soul
Buried in the Water
Unknown (choir, ended with a BANG!)
Intro (Life after Death film)
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) – Nancy Sinatra Cover, sung by girl in choir
Werewolf Head
Dead Man’s Bones
Unknown
My Body is a Zombie for You
Pa Pa Power

Encore

Name In Stone
Paper Ships

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa Romero October 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I wanna watch that talent show.

Reply

Caroline Hernandez October 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm

What a fun show!

Don’t forget, Ryan Gosling was also in Murder by Numbers with Sandra Bullock.

Reply

Marie Carney October 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I do love that one. If only Michael Pitt and Ryan Gosling had started some strange musical project back then, but I imagine he was too busy wooing Sandra Bullock or something.

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Peter Hopkins October 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm

The singer’s name is Andye Jamieson. She’s a very talented dancer/choreographer/singer/instrumentalist, and also very good with the various kid’s choirs. My children’s choir was their back-up for both New York and Philly, and Messrs. Gosling and Shields were wonderful with the kids, treated them like stars.

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SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE December 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm

check out “Return to El Guante’s Haunted Studio Apartment” and enjoy something along the same lines..in Hip Hop. google it and enjoy!

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