Monday, April 07, 2014

House of Stuart featuring Gerald Dowd and mystery guests; April 7, 2014; The Hideout, Chicago

“House of Stuart”?  What did it mean?  No idea, but all it took to sell me on buying a bus ticket was knowing that Gerald would be there.  Well, that and $3.50.  In the multiple year stint of his Monday night Hideout residency Robbie Fulks has come up with a number of great/crazy ideas to keep it interesting.  Sometimes it’s a special guest or featured artist, sometimes they cover a whole Dylan record, and sometimes there’s a wacky concept.  Tonight was one of the latter, covers of songs by people named Stuart, or Stewart, and I entered the Hideout’s back room before the show to find a dude reading “Stuart Little.”  Sure, there are the obvious ones, er, one, and they opened with Rod Stewart, but they dug deep after that.  Endearingly, they chose the cheesy Rod.  “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” would have been great, but I think “Hot Legs” may have been an even better choice. 

Once the obvious was out of the way, there were prizes for those who could identify the connection.  The prize?  Stewart’s coffee of course.  Next up was a Sly & the Family Stone song, turns out Sly Stone was born Sly Stewart.  Who knew?  Robbie & Gerald did, that’s who.  With a drummer as one of the conspirators, there had to be at least one Stewart Copeland mention, we got two.  One was a track from a band I’d never heard of, no, not the Police, duh.  The second was a mash-up with a lesser-known country singer famous for cantakerousness.  Somehow Gerald worked some Copeland style drumming into the twang.  My favorite mash-up featured Casey McDonough singing Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” (that particular Stewart is a guilty pleasure of mine) while Gerald played Martha Stewart with a blender.  He made a smoothie, and a bit of a mess.  After the initial blending he brought it to McDonough to taste.  “What does it need?” he asked.  The reply, “A bigger straw,”

A second highlight was Chris Ligon’s uncanny Jimmy Stewart impersonation.  But the most unexpectedly awesome Stuart was the Old 97’s “Timebomb.”  When Rhett Miller sings “My name’s Stuart Ransom Miller, and I’m a serial lady killer” in “Barrier Reef,” I had no idea that was actually his name.  Not only that, turns out he’s a Junior too.  Huh.  Thanks Robbie for another ridiculously entertaining and educational evening.

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