Gig Review – Dweezil Zappa

Dweezil Zappa, HMV Picturehouse, November 19

Interviewing Dweezil Zappa a few weeks before this gig, the guitarist was clearly enthusiastic and looking forward to coming to Scotland to play. He talked about how the Apostrophe’ album was going to be getting an airing on this tour, and how it was the album he advised newcomers [to his Father’s music] to listen to. The Zappa plays Zappa shows have been happening since 2006, and it is clear that doubts to the project that fans may have had have long faded away.

The anticipation at Edinburgh’s HMV Picturehouse was certainly high. Sure, there were people old enough to have seen Zappa Snr. play in the sixties and seventies (and old enough to behave better in public!) but there were also plenty of people in their teens. Kicking off with ‘Heavy Duty Judy’ the band then went straight into Apostrophe’ in its’ entirety. Zappa’s eighteenth album to be released back in 1974, it featured a rare hit single for him ‘Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow’. Barely more than half an hour long, and also featuring other wonderful Zappa tracks including ‘St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast’ and the title track.

Dweezil had spoken of his determination not to have the project seen as being a covers band – and his allusion to an orchestra is certainly appropriate. As we progressed beyond the Apostrophe’ section, other highlights (from a career of many) included ‘What’s The Ugliest Part Of your Body?’ and ‘Inca Rose.’ The latter was particualrly warmly received, including the mother and daughter beside me (but did the Mum have to keep throwing plastic glasses at anyone who obscured her vision??). This section featured guitar footage of Zappa Snr. himself playing on a big screen. Did it seem tacky, or an attempt to relieve past glories? Certainly not. This was not Queen attempting to recreate ‘Bo Rhap’ by using tapes for the opera section live on stage (yuck) but instead seemed magical.

And when he encored with ‘Dancin’ Fool’ the audience was fool, sorry full of just that (not me, honest, I’ve got an eight month old son I must learn not to embarass when he’s old enough to come to gigs). I never saw Frank Zappa live -and I’ve only heard a handful of his eighty plus albums, but this should be viewed as a continuation, not a tribute act.

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