Until breaking up in 1999, Danger Bob played loud, fast and geeky power pop. Now, for one night only, the guys reunite -- with a gaggle of real-life band geeks joining them -- as the Mollyphonic Spree, so christened as a nod to Danger Bob's penchant for referring to every woman as Molly. Fifteen-plus musicians join the band's bassist, drummer and two guitarists, adding horns, flutes and a violin, among other things. Who would have guessed: The supplemental instruments should add exactly what Danger Bob's songs about the Real World, urban legends and the aforementioned Mollys always needed! Onstage guests at the Saturday-night gala at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire Street in Lawrence, 785-841-5483) range from acquaintances of the relatively professional variety (such as the multitalented Jason Beers, on loan from the Brannock Device) to lead guitarist and vocalist Andy Morton's nepotastically selected brother Eric rocking the kazoo and sister Hilary leading the choir.
"We're billing it as a 'choral-pop train wreck,' so it could really go either way," Andy Morton says. Indeed, staging such a show with a full-on choir is risky business for a band that once sang The choir's song is my private jail/Hopin' afterwards/I'm gonna get nailed on the track that opened Danger Bob's debut album, The Joshua Tree.
Between that cassette-only release and its fourth full-length, Girls of the Big 12 (which went public at the same time that Danger Bob announced it was calling it quits), the quartet grew to be one of the area's biggest draws. It was certainly the only band ever to get crowds to make bawk-bawk noises, as it did while playing "Chickens in My Backyard" from Le Pop Shoppe. Also on Le Pop Shoppe was a ditty called "The Hook," the chorus of which warned Don't flash your lights at passing cars/It might be a gang. Packed reunion shows in the summer of 2001 and earlier this year have proven that fans still know the words.
No matter who Danger Bob targets for mockery, the band still can't manage to persuade someone to threaten it with legal action -- even when asking in no uncertain terms, pleading Sue me/Sue this band before asserting that Dianetics took my money away on the Scientology-themed song "Diarrhetics" on the album MegaVega$.
"We know that the real Polyphonic Spree is aware of the show, but they haven't made any comment on it ... yet," Morton says, sounding almost disappointed. "We're still waiting for the cease-and-desist order."-- Robert Bishop
Odds and Ends
The Leedy-Voulkos is full of stuff.
Arrange a bunch of creepy items (dirty baby dolls and mechanical patriots, for example) in just the right manner, and they'll miraculously transform into compelling art. If you don't believe us, go to the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore, 816-474-1919), where sculptor Jim Leedy and photographer Nicole Cawlfield display flea-markety items in an exhibit called Puppetmaster. While there, head to the hallway just north of this exhibit, and you'll find a vintage vending machine that dispenses cigarette box-sized art by locals for two bucks apiece -- not bad for a nutritious and aesthetically pleasing treat.-- Gina Kaufmann
Play Us a Song
When actress Missy Koonce throws open the glass door to her cabaret nightclub Bar Natasha (1907 Main Street) for its official debut on New Year's Eve, she'll give patrons who don't want to stay out late an early start. "We'll open at 4 p.m.," Koonce says. The bar offers an appetizer buffet, a glass of champagne and a 9 p.m. performance by Koonce and pianist Anthony Edwards, all for $25. The cover will remain $25 "until it's just ridiculous to charge it anymore," Koonce says. "I mean, it might be $12.50 by midnight." Call 816-472-5300.-- Charles Ferruzza
Public House Party
McCoys Public House (4057 Pennsylvania), longtime mainstay for cheap pizza/burger/pitcher lovers, hosts a New Year's Eve party that promises to be entertaining -- though its employees have a hard time describing exactly what visitors should expect to see. For about two hours starting at 9:30 p.m., Brodie Rush hosts his semifamous screwball karaoke gig known as Brodioke. Then Rush's mysterious entourage of guest entertainers takes over with an act that involves such things as vaudeville and magic. You might even hear a few Big Jeter songs reincarnated for the occasion. There's a $10 cover, and last call's not until 2:30 a.m. For information, call 816-960-0866.-- Kaufmann