Show Review: Greg Behrendt’s “Bring The Rock”

by Dakin Hardwick on June 21, 2010

Pre Mohawk Photo

Spinning Platters is, according to the banner, is a “Community Of Bay Area Music Nerds.” So when I learned of this show at Cobb’s, I got very excited. The premise is comedians telling stories about music, and singing a song relevant to the story with a live band. Of course, this event causes my music nerd soul to glow.
The show begin with the back up band, named “Electrick Snowflake,” doing a stunning interpretation of Justin Bieber’s hit “Baby.” The band, consisting of Grant Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo, Gilmore Girls) on guitar, Dave Gibbs (Gigolo Aunts, Street Sweeper Social Club) on bass, and Mark Rivers (Mr Show) on drums, pulled of a stunning CSN-inspired version of the song that was no doubt lost on the majority of the crowd, whose average age seemed to be about ten years older than the prime Bieber demographic.

The evenings’ host, Greg Behrendt, then came out looking far more “rock” than he had in recent day. He had a blonde mohawk, a tight collared shirt, and baggy black jeans with the kind of wallet chain where the chain is so long that the pick pocketter could easily be buying a car across town before you feel even a subtle tug. In other words, he looked like your average skater circa 1994, and he opened the show with a pretty typical monologue. He discussed his best selling book, He’s Just Not That Into You, and how refreshing it was to finally start seeing men appear at his shows again. He then moved on to the actual premise of the show, which is personal stories about their relationship to rock, and then performed a song based on their story. Since it’s not my duty to retell the stories told by the storyteller, all I will say is that the first thing that I’ve learned tonight is that Scott Weiland would make a terrible witness to any sort of crime. The next thing I learned is that Greg Behrendt has a great voice. He doesn’t have a lot of range, but he can do the 50’s-style pop croon very well. The oddity was that he was singing STP’s “Sex Type Thing” when I learned this. The arrangement was Bobby Darin-inspired, and with a solid bass groove, and Behrendt playing a clean, jazzy electric guitar for the solos.

Grant Lee Phillips took the stage alone for a bit after Behrendt’s set. He told a brief story about going to the vet with Michael Stipe, but went off the format of the show, and instead of doing an REM song, he opted to do his own “It Ain’t The Same Old Cold War, Harry.” It’s a great song, but I was really hoping to hear Phillips  sing “Crush With Eyeliner.”

The next performer was Nick Thune (who will be back in town opening for Mates Of State at the Great American Music Hall in two weeks). He also had a few Scott Weiland stories, as I have realized even further that junkies make great comic fodder. His actual “story” about music, though, was a Prince story. Actually it was a story about farting on Orlando Bloom at Prince’s house, but Orlando Bloom’s recorded output is nowhere near as memorable Prince’s, so he lead the band through a Dylan-esque version “Rasberry Beret.”

The final storyteller of the evening was Marc Moran, whose brash, George Carlin-esque delivery was a refreshing change of pace from Thune’s & Behrendt’s nice-guy approach to comedy. It was fun watching a comic like this in North Beach, it felt very classic. The beat comic vibe increased even more when he started telling his story, which was a tale of doing mushrooms with a group of jewish hippies at a Jerry Garcia show. Of course, for all the gruffness of the set, his musical selection was absolutely stunning. They did the Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace,” and it was a very reverent and proficient reading of the song. I normally can’t stand the Dead, but if every Dead song was done by this band, I’d probably appreciate them even more.

Behrendt came back to wind down the show, discussing his hatred of Vampire Weekend, his love of Van Halen, and his even more intense hatred of reunions. The band came out again, and played a pretty amazing tune that rounded out the set very nicely. Here’s a sample:

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Phil Johnson June 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Good review.. I had so hoped to make this show, but I had gigs myself all weekend. Greg only does them a couple times a year.

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