ohhhhh noooooooooo... "sloppy playing and
bad jokes..." was Bumblefoot's reaction when I dropped
the news on him about this review. BBF's casual yet self
depreciating manner is typical of a man far more willing
to downplay his awesome musical abilities, than pop into
his studio and pickup a trumpet for loud honk. Luckily,
this personality is left at the door when BBF's live
show is in town.
The minute Ron hits the stage at the RMA,
his huge musical persona explodes into a display of
stunning musicianship and consummate showmanship. BBF is
living proof that a lightshow and spandex are not needed
to keep your eyes fixed on the band for an hour, not
when a big beard and a wonderfully timed 'fuck' will do.
The set opens with 911's excellent "Don
Pardo Pimpwagon", a furious up tempo rocker that
swaggers with 70's cool and a new millennium's worth of
technique. Bumblefoot's crisp and relatively dry tone
sizzles through the speakers on my TV. In fact the
production on this DVD (essentially a very good bootleg)
is excellent overall. The show is shot via two cameras
which capture all the action, but offer no close ups.
It's about a minute in when I realise I'm
not solely focused on watching BBF's hands to see how
all the crazy licks are being performed, instead, I'm
already enjoying the show... a good sign.
BBF - Live at the RMA gets better too.
BBF's music is notoriously complex, yet songs such as
"Guitars Suck", "Raygun" and "Fly in the batter" come
across with the band clearly relishing the challenge.
Smiles between Bumblefoot and fellow guitarist Chris
Ptacek are reciprocated throughout the entire show, and
the moments where Bumblefoot launches into mind boggling
guitar solos draws priceless facial expressions and head
shaking from Ptacek. One of my favourite moments from
this concert is where Ptacek receives a joke scolding
for improvising over one of BBF's intriguing spoken
words. Not many people could get away with venomously
spiting "who said you could fucking solo over my
diatribe" and raise a big laugh.
Another treat in store from this DVD is in
the shape of a Questions and Answers session. To begin
with, a rather dumbstruck audience sit silent, seemingly
scared to ask a question for fear of another 'joke'
scolding. Bumblefoot soon turns this around however,
with constant prompts and more great one liners. Another
hilarious moment is when a member of the audience asks
"what do the wings on your signature Vigier do?"...
Bumblefoot's reply; "they flap when I move the wangbar".
Well of course they do.
The Q&A section of the DVD is a nice touch,
and I for one am glad it was left in. It's always good
to hear first hand some of the experiences that maketh
Bumblefoot is without doubt one of the
worlds most innovative and likable musicians, and this
DVD is a great chance to catch him in a relaxed and
funny mood. His voice is also in top form, as "Fly in
the Batter" and "TJones" testifies. At times he is
almost eerily close to Tom Jones' powerful yet soulful
yelling...all done while simultaneously nailing the
toughest guitar licks known to man. I can't recommend
this DVD highly enough.