When a CD release party is billed as an Extravaganza, you expect just a little bit more than a band onstage running through their new songs. And so it was that the alt-Mex-folk act David Wax Museum — essentially the duo of guitarist David Wax and his violin and donkey-jawbone-playing partner Suz Slezak — brought not only their music, but a musically theatrical show to the funky confines of Oberon on Feb. 3 for the unveiling of their hip and spirited new CD, “Everything Is Saved.”
After some brief comments from an emcee (who was also a super fan of the band) and some unusual merch hawking (including some shirtless male body posing), the pair took the stage along with Wax’s accordion-playing cousin and a percussionist for the opening number “That’s Not True.” It was about halfway through that first number that the crowd realized why this venue was chosen for this party, as a procession of horns, percussionists and accordionist snaked its way from atop the theater’s balcony, parted the standing crowd joined the group on stage.
In all, 12 musicians would come and go during the set, playing a variety of instruments. At one point there were six or seven donkey jawbones simultaneously being whacked to the beat. The tunes, such as “Born With a Broken Heart,” already played with enthusiasm on the album, were ramped up to foot-stomping, hand-clapping, audience-participatory levels by a group of musicians (and obviously good friends of the band), who couldn’t stop from emitting smiles and laughter as they were playing.
As for the carnival atmosphere of the show, well, let’s see… there were two people on stage who had string pulled out of their mouths, there were crepe-paper streamers tossed from the corners of the theater into the crowd, shiny confetti fell from the ceiling. Oh, and did I mention the trapeze aerialist? Yes, there she was, about a third of the way into the crowd, doing her thing while two accordions and a percussionist serenaded her from the balcony.
The highlight of the show (no, I haven’t mentioned it yet) was around midway though the night when the musicians broke off into groups, with the horn section performing in the balcony stage right, followed by Wax and Slezak on the catwalk behind the crowd, then down to the floor where an acoustic bass backed a solo singer, then to the center of the crowd where Wax and Slezak performed a very acoustic gospel number that had the whole crowd foot-stomping the beat. It was mesmerizing music and theater.
The night finished up with multiple encores: their very popular “Yes, Maria, Yes” brought the band out in full force. It was followed by a beautiful duet of just Wax and Slezak side by side on a single microphone for a final tune.
For more pics, click HERE
My video clip from the show