Show Review: Gil Mantera’s Party Dream with Triple Cobra and Go Going Gone Girls at Bottom of the Hill, 5/15/10

by Gordon Elgart on May 19, 2010

It's not just a dream. It's a party.

So-called novelty bands tend to have a short shelf life. The progression tends to go something like this: you see the band open for someone else and you immediately tell your friends, then you see them again with your friends and have a great time, and then you keep going but your friends are over them. Meanwhile you’re telling the friends who have stopped going that the band is special; it’s not just a shtick. Sometimes you’re wrong, but sometimes you’re right. So am I right about Gil Mantera’s Party Dream?

The first band on the bill was the Go Going Gone Girls, a local band made up of a front of line of go-go girls in matching dresses doing synchronized choreography and a back-line of seasoned veteran musicians. The fact that a band like this exists is refreshing. It seems that you can have any cool musical idea you want in San Francisco and you’ll find people to join you. You can do “Leader of the Pack” in German without a tinge of irony, and people will enjoy it. Just watching them makes me want to start some sort of dream project with my friends, like a music blog or something.

Next up was Triple Cobra, and holy crap, this bands looks and sounds exactly like an early ’70s British glam rock band. And not some bar band or anything, but one playing to a giant arena filled with thousands of fans. They act as if they were the biggest band in the world, and the fact of the matter is that I would love to live in a world where Triple Cobra were the biggest band in the world. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them again.

When Gil and Donny started setting up their gear for the Gil Mantera’s Party Dream headlining set, they were in their “street clothes.” My friend commented, “where are the outfits? There’d better be outfits!” This is the problem I mentioned above: for her, it’s never been about the music. Sure, the music is good, but it’s always been about the banter and the dancing. This isn’t a sustainable career, and something needed to change. Thankfully, it wasn’t the outfits; it was something else.

When GMPD first showed up on my radar, they were a two-piece project. “Party Gil” would start the beats going and then start with his modified-Chippendale dance moves, occasionally singing through a vocoder, while “Ultimate Donny” would play guitar and sing most of the leads. Between songs there would be non-sequitur banter, some fake (possibly real) arguing, and lots of weird jokes about breakfast. This has not changed.

What has changed is that they’ve added a drummer, AE Paterra, and the focus has shifted to the songs, and into making quality live music. And it works. The music has extra pop, yet none of the fun has gone away. This is not just me yelling at my friends, “but they’ve changed.” This is an actual shift. Gil Mantera’s Party Dream has definitely gone from a see-it-once novelty act to a super-fun dance band worth checking out as many times as you can.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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