Captain Squeegee with the ASU Concert Jazz Band @ Crescent Ballroom | 11/8/12
Musicians and concertgoers were nearly indistinguishable at the Crescent Ballroom last night when sci-fi geek rockers Captain Squeegee and Arizona State University's Concert Jazz Band crowded the stage. With so many people playing, it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began.
Coupled with a performance by special guests Steff Koeppen and the Articles, two live artists, and trippy graphic projection display, it was one campy conglomerate of artistic expression as only Captain Squeegee could do it.
It was musical madness that worked like a double feature at the drive-in. Koeppen and her Tucson quartet opened the show with their perfectly polished piano-based pop songs. They were like the intellectual indie flick starring Zooey Deschanel while Squeegee and company were the lucid animated film concocted by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney.
The two styles contrasted and complimented each other nicely.
Koeppen impressed the crowd with her powerful vocals and bouncy keystrokes. Using foot-tapping rhythms and soft violin touches, her music dripped with introspection and thoughtfulness. I seemed to sit on the less-interested side of the ballroom where patrons chatted away, but the rest of the audience listened intently and clapped eagerly and often. Her set was filled with new songs from the band's latest album, Stories You Can't Tell. The frantic pace of "Change Like That" served as the perfect transition and was a definitive highlight of the set.
With the jazz ensemble's stations already in place on stage, a brief set change followed.
Squeegee frontman Danny Torgersen has always spoken with so much enthusiasm and earnestness that I hadn't thought he could ever be any happier than he already seemed.
But apparently the opportunity to bolster his sound with the booming big band brass section from the ASU ensemble had him bursting at the seams. Something like 12 extra horns will do that to you, I suppose. Together the troupe performed Squeegee originals about metaphors, space, time, and conspiracies, as well as an instrumental cover of the saucy classic, "Fever." In all, I think I counted something like 20 people on stage.
Torgersen's falsetto squeal and sometimes talk-singing delivery differed sharply from Koeppen's cool croonings but it was pitch perfect when mashed up with the messy menagerie of the jazz backing. Tracks like "Factory," "Shovel," and "Cosmic Waltz" stood out as favorites among the crowd.
They wrapped up after a little more than an hour, sending concertgoers out into the nippy air with a buzz. We can't wait for the sequel.
Last Night: Captain Squeegee, ASU Concert Jazz Band, Steff Koeppen and the Articles
Overheard: "You're all dressed like it's winter and you're sleeping outside or something, man."
Hit or miss: The psychedelic filter projected onto the band totally worked during Captain Squeegee's set -- during Koeppen's, not so much.