[caption id="attachment_23328" align="aligncenter" width="445" caption="Dastardly's Gabe Liebowitz & August Sheeny (Photo by Audrey Leon)"][/caption]Chicago Americana outfit Dastardly dazzled a packed Hideout backroom with a night filled with music, comedy and a bit of supernatural fun during its first-ever variety show “Catastrophe.”
Wanting to break away from the more traditional concert experience, Dastardly took the room back to the days where wholesome, downhome country fun came via variety shows like Hee-Haw and the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, the night’s festivities were anything but as the mix of comics and musicians threw decency to the wind to the delight of many in the room.
The Hideout’s stage was lit with its familiar Christmas lights and decorated with oversized fake cacti. The host - Dickie Phipps (portrayed by Chad Briggs), donning a unruly black wig in the style of Roy Clark - introduced Dastardly as they kicked off the first act with “Rose Marie.”
The group’s energy never let up, even with all the bizarre happenings going on around them. First, there was the comic (Joe Fernandez) whose fiance had left him prior to the show. His wavering voice - always on the verge of a sob - hussled guffaws from the crowd as he squeaked out his routine. Then there was piano prodigy Chris Condren who struggled with his Yamaha keyboard, playing bad synthesizer compositions including a cover of “I won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty that he introduced as a song “about a rapist.”
The show’s catastrophic highlights are too many to name, but the fight between banjo/guitar player Joe Rauen and a heckler who was wrapped from head to toe in garbage bags was certainly memorable. The man burst in, claiming the members of Dastardly were the Illuminati responsible for many things including Lady Gaga. Clearly having had enough, Rauen grabbed a piece of fake cactus and battered the man with it until the entire band chased him from the room, signaling the end of act one.
The second act began with Dastardly’s ode to Missouri, with such Chicago crowd-pleasing lyrics as, “Missouri, you’re a cold and miserable fucker.” But then all hell broke loose as “children’s act” Ruby Weapon jumped on stage.
The group’s electro-hip-hop-dance song was an ode to female genitalia that would have made Prince blush. Quip of the night goes to host Dickie Phipps: “Can we agree that that just happened to us? There aren’t any counselors on hand. Let’s just form a prayer circle outside to cleanse the room.”
[caption id="attachment_23332" align="aligncenter" width="445" caption="Patsy Cline and Katy Perry (Photo by Audrey Leon)"][/caption]
Saving the best guest for last, Dastardly was joined on stage by the ghost of Patsy Cline. The band’s rendition of “Crazy” was soon interrupted by Katy Perry, who dusted the stage with glitter while wearing a bra made of lollipops. The brawl that ensued between the two musical stars (portrayed by the Puterbaugh Sisters) ended with Cline emerging victoriously, covered in Perry’s glitter-filled blood. And Dastardly did the only thing a band could do in this situation - end the night with one more song, this one entitled “Jews Don’t Go to Heaven.”
On a night where nothing (appeared to) go right, Dastardly emerged as the voice of reason, playing each song during its two sets with full-on angst and passion, as if they members’ very own lives depended on redeeming the night. And redeem it, they did. Dastardly’s revue truly ended with a hoedown (Perry) and it was spectacular.
Enjoy some video highlights from the night below:
Dastardly performing "Fever" (video by Audrey Leon)
Dastardly brawls with heckler (video by Audrey Leon)