On the morning of April 18th we got an early start leaving Buffalo, headed to our destination of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scranton being my hometown, the drive was quite easy and our accommodations were set! Lindsey and I got to the River Street Jazz Cafe just before 9 pm. We ordered some food and awaited the opening act to start the night. While waiting for the band to start, Jon Fishman made an appearance at the bar, in which people started rushing his way. He made a quick getaway and not to long after that, Sonic Spank took the stage. This quartet out of the Philadelphia region seemed ecstatic to be sharing the bill with Fishman and Touchpants. Having a jamband feel with a heavy trance-funk undertone, these guys had a great sound and worked the crowd over. For their last song of the night, Jon Fishman sat in with them on Pink Floyd’s ”Astronomy Domine.” I overheard later that night, that it was the bands first go at the song, they definitely held their own.
The stage was cleared and refilled with Touchpants’ equipment. At this point I could tell that the crowd was ready to see what was in store. As they took the stage, the place lit up with applause and the band had started into a vocal jam called “Penis Slap.” Although this would probably cause a stir in most of America, most of the people there that night laughed it off and still awaited more. And the more they gave, the raunchier it got. The next song was dedicated to a female in the front, called “Mushroom Tattoo,” a song about putting a penis on a girls face. Next was “Mom Jeans,” and then the first of many “Dirtsters.” “Ode To Dirtster” is a group of poems that guitar player and vocalist Colby Dix and drummer Jon Fishman had constructed during their time with Jazz Mandolin Project. They are about a girl named Tammy, in which Fishman and Cox named all the dirty hippie girls that they wrote these lyrics about. These poems push the envelope and are insanely derogatory towards women. Although this didn’t phase most of the viewers, some decided to leave early.
Chris Friday, the other guitarist/vocalist of the band, told the audience that this next number is their bluegrass song. “Jesus had a baby out of his dickhole in Cinncinatti” was the song and I am sure that just by the title you could understand where this one went. Again with the creative titles, “Let Your Cock Lead” was started and the band kept calling people out in the audience. It was hilarious and one of those moments where you don’t know if you should be laughing. “1,2,3,4″ came and went, then Cox started a new “Ode To Dirtster.” This time around, a woman standing next to us turned to bass player Aran Bedrosian told him that she didn’t know how to act – she loved the music but was not sure on what to do. Aran, who was literally like a foot from us replied “Neither do I.” Funny story is that this “Ode To Dirtster” was directed to the aforementioned audience member. Cox asked the band to take it down a little bit because he just wrote this poem, and it was meaningful.
Fishman then realized that about half the audience had left and thanked all of us for sticking it out, saying that as the show goes on they will see who the true fans are. He then told everyone to buy some merchandise, telling the crowd that they had a special run of shirts featuring Kevin Ware.After a few more songs we got what I thought was one of the best played songs of the night, “Cat Blow Job.” Although the lyrics to this song were risque, the jams were phenomenal. Aran’s bass playing was incredible and he was such a humble guy, giving high fives to us in the audience and laughing most of the night away. Lindsey was then chosen as the next of many “Ode To Dirtster’s.” She was nervous but took it like a champ. Cox broke a guitar string and while he was fixing it, Fishman broke out a penis guitar that their road tech Will Smith made, then played a bit of “Brain Damage” before handing the guitar back.
As Cox returned with his guitar, a man was pulled up out of the audience to berate Will Smith. Instead of doing that, he told a lady from the audience to hop onstage and give Fishman a kiss, telling her the worst thing that could happen is that she would be kicked out. The lady went for it as the man was tossed off the stage. Fishman threw his drum sticks up and said “NO WAY!” Cox and Friday told the woman if she flashed them, they would allow her to kiss Jon. After a few attempts she finally pulled her shirt up, again heading towards Fishman and she was quickly escorted off while the member tore in.
The show came to an end a little while later and I couldn’t believe all that just happened in the last two and a half hours. The lyrics, the stage banter, Friday pretending to jerk off on Cox’s face, Fishman playing “Brain Damage” on a penis guitar or the toilets they were sitting on, this was a one of a kind show to say the least. Linds and I truly did enjoy ourselves, having a bunch of laughs and still in awe that these guys made it to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I know people were disappointed thinking that some sort of Phish music would be played, Fish did throw a “Bouncing Around The Room” tease in, with the audience cheering to only get knocked down by Friday and Cox ripping into jamband fans. I would suggest everyone seeing this band if you are into raw humor and want to see some killer musicians in a smaller setting. To me it is definitely a one time deal, but still glad we went!
Originally featured on UpstateLIVE.com
Photos by Lindsey Robinson Photography
Written by Jason Staniszewski