Which bands did you check out last weekend? Maybe you caught a soulful blues set at Saxon Pub. Dug a few cover bands on Dirty 6th. Rocked out to a bluegrass/hardcore mashup at Empire Garage.
Me? I saw a circus funk/rock seven piece with performance artists, a rapper dressed like a cast member from Super Troopers and at least one band member jumping on a trampoline.
If you had to read that last sentence three times, congrats. Welcome to the wonderfully bizarre world of Kiddoo and the Dude, a mad menagerie of music, art and electric good times.
Long Time Coming
When Mike Kiddoo and multi-instrumentalist “Dude” first moved from Boston to Austin in the summer of 2010, they were a tight, funky two piece gigging at any bar that would give them a stage. But when they decided to lay down their first album in 2012, the pair quickly realized the sound needed to grow.
After three years of lineup changes and an ever growing following, Kiddoo and the Dude embraced their outrageous circus and solidified the 7-piece lineup on their new record, Kiddoo and the Dude’s Funky Freakshow. What started as powerhouse funk act had bloomed into an eclectic band of multi-costumed fun lovers.
The new album is an ambitious blend of party jams and funk mixed with the festive vibe of a psycho circus. Pepper in some sharp humor, rap verses and the occasional calliope and you have a varied yet cohesive record.
Opening with the head bobbing groove of “Let Your Hair Down” and finishing with the acoustically driven “So I Scream,” Funky Freakshow hits a variety of musical styles and influences. Highlights include the hilarious “The Talker,” the horror pop swing of “Made for Love” and “Simon Redrox,” a dramatic, ska tinged rocker that helps close out the record.
As far as comparisons go, Kiddoo defies classification. The core sound is a mix of The Aquabats’ clever lyrics and good time vibes with a Parliament Funkadelic bass slap. Wrap it all up in the baroque burlesque of Pretty.Odd era Panic at the Disco and add a dash of Biz Markie. You’re about 3/4’s of the way there.
Fun Filled Freakshow
But to “get” Kiddoo, you need to see them live. While the record is polished and streamlined, the band’s CD release party at the Spider House Ballroom was an explosion of color and music. Beginning with a sensual dance piece and ending with a keyboardist stage diving in a dinosaur costume, Kiddoo brings electric extravagance to their live shows.
Luckily, it’s not all pageantry. The band’s sound is tight and focused even when it’s raging out of control. Dude is an accomplished drummer and Kiddoo commands attention as the band’s front man. It’s hard to be focused when you’re having so much fun, but Kiddoo and company make every stage feel twice as big.
The Definition of Austin Weird
The clock was knocking on two in the morning by the time Kiddoo finished their set. With electricity and energy still pulsing in the room, it felt like eleven. A party band with chops and a fantastic sense of Austin weird, Kiddoo and the Dude is a perfect deviation from the blues, folk and indie rock that dominates the ATX scene. An adventure of extravagance, color and one of a kind fun.
For Kiddoo’s show, CD and social media information, go to kiddooandthedude.com.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Have you experienced Kiddoo live? What was your favorite moment?
Feature image courtesy of Kiddoo and the Dude’s Facebook page.