Holy Oleo!

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Holy Oleo!

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Basement Medicine staff members Ari Erlbaum and Adriana Eldred discuss the  Nov. 13 evening’s musical performance of the Oleo Romeos, featuring Professor Tyrone Shaw as frontman.
 
Editor’s Note: This article has been published much to the goodhearted embarrassment of Shaw, who declined pre-print viewing. The conversation between our two intrepid reporters who braved snowy roads to see the show has been edited for clarity.
 
Adriana: So what did you think of the show?
 
Ari: I absolutely loved it, especially the rhythm guitar player, our amazing leader Tyrone Shaw. Who totally didn’t pay me to say that…? Why would you even think anything like that?
 
Adriana: …I didn’t ask that, but moving on…what was it about the rhythm guitarist that you liked?
 
Ari: Well, aside from his dashing good looks and a voice to die for, you mean?
Adriana: Was that all you had to say about him? Did you even listen to the show?
 
Ari: Yes, of course I did. Um… his wit! That was the other thing he told me to… I mean… the songs were real witty.  
 
Adriana: Well, I thought the performance was a little below-par. I mean, “gastro-intestinal love songs?” What does that even mean?
 
Ari: Well, that song’s refrain of “I love the way you smell” was so romantic. What’s more romantic than a balding 70-something man singing about pheromones?
 
Adriana: That’s the problem. The audience just couldn’t relate to any of the lyrics in the songs. You had to listen really closely for the jokes, which today’s youth just doesn’t have the capacity to do.
 
Ari: Ah, you mean it was sophisticated humor. All the most sophisticated humor is ironic to the point where if you get it, you’re doing something wrong. It was astonishingly good songwriting.
 
Adriana: I’ll give him points for irony, but the atmosphere was just crippling. A hippy tapestry and alternating colorful lights- where are we, Woodstock in the 70s?!
 
Ari: Ah, yes, everything perfectly in place on stage, the lighting accents. But let’s talk about the rest of the band, with Jerry Bowers on guitar and Ralph Rosenberg on bass. I thought they were…[looks at notes]… amazing, but not good enough to eclipse Tyrone. 
 
Editor’s Note: It should be noted that Ralph, while not as hammy as Tyrone, did wow the audience with a portable music stand for his bass, which was attached to the instrument with popsicle sticks.
 
Adriana: I thought the music wasn’t too bad actually. I can picture myself listening to it…maybe in an elevator or a grocery store. Easy listening.
 
Ari: More like transcendent listening. Their band composition of two guitars and a bass was a stroke of genius. I mean, who would have ever thought of that? As the bassist filled the bass-player archetype of staring blankly and playing squarely on the beat, I felt myself transported to a whole new mind-space. How about the other guitarist?
 
Adriana: I really didn’t pay attention to him. I was focusing on the choreography. There weren’t any. I can’t believe I spent a whole 2 hours listening to pleasant music, and there weren’t even any back-up dancers.
 
Ari: I would argue that their choreography was just understated. Rosenberg’s move, where he was completely still for most of the show, then shifted his weight to the other foot halfway through the second set– brilliant. And Shaw…. uh… moving his lips as he sang? That was some postmodern magic. [Muffled, to someone off the recording] I’m stretching here…
 
Adriana: Don’t even remind me of his face. Did you see that unwavering, joyful smile stuck on his face the whole night? He could’ve been in a room alone and as long as he was singing, he would’ve been happy. No drama!
 
Ari: Yeah, even if there weren’t the hordes of screaming fans he would’ve had a blast.
Editor’s Note: The performance was at Moog’s Joint in Johnson to a crowd of what can only be described as 15 people.
 
Ari: He’s completely in his element, making witticisms, playing guitar, and crooning deliciously untasteful love songs.
 
Adriana: What they really needed was some better costumes. They looked like three residents that just escaped the local senior center. Maybe something closer to Kiss? Some eye makeup?
 
Editor’s Note: Corpse paint?
 
Adriana: At least a toupee or two. No effort at all in presentation.
 
Ari: Tyrone can’t help being… [muffled, to someone off the recording] do I really have to say this? [Back into the phone] naturally beautiful. No special makeup needed. What were some highlights of the show for you?
 
Adriana: While it really wasn’t my scene, my favorite song – if I had to choose one – was “No Jazz.” I felt like I was watching Blue’s Clues. Really nostalgic.
 
Ari: I also loved that song. Only true musical prodigies could have one of the songs in their set go outside of the I, IV, and V chords. [Muffled, to someone off the recording] What? You want me to talk about the lyrics? My day job is a jazz critic, I have no clue what you were singing about! What’s that? Oh, okay… [Back into the recording] The song was also… um… well lyric-ed. 
 
Adriana: According to my highly unqualified opinion, I’d say the lyrics …well, rhyme…mostly…and they…sounded nice…sometimes. Overall, pretty great. I’d listen to them again for sure. Look, I’m not getting paid to do this.
 
Ari: Me neither.. Or giving praise in exchange for a good grade. Nope. No siree. None of that. I just honestly really love the musical and lyrical stylings of The Great Tyrone Shaw. Who totally didn’t just give me notes about the lyrics. Um, do we get to edit this later?
 
Adriana: No, but (pointing) she does.
 
Editor’s Note: Thanks, guys.
 
Adriana: And a deadline…Why do you need to edit this? This is live.
 
Ari: Hey, so about those song lyrics. 
 
Adriana: I thought they really under delivered. One song was introduced saying it would give us answers to the meaning of life. Instead, Tyrone just said he wasn’t sure about a bunch of deep sounding things, but he was sure about “you.” I wanted existential answers and I got a cheesy love song. Or maybe he said he was sure about beer?
 
Editor’s Note: This song is called “Wise Men and Poets.” He was, in fact, sure about “you.”
 
Ari: Wasn’t it poignant?
 
Adriana: I don’t want to talk about the lyrics anymore. Let’s talk about if we see a successful future for this band. Do they really have the talent to make it big?
 
Ari: Yes. 100%. I see the Oleo Romeos and my GPA exploding this year. I mean, uh, that’s going to be the name of their touring act– The Oleo Romeos and My GPA.
Editor’s Note: shh!
 
Ari: Anyways, it’ll be big. What about you? Do you think they’ll be playing for audiences of millions, or merely hundreds of thousands?
 
Adriana: I see them making it big – up there with Kanye West, Ariana Grande type big – if they do just one thing differently.
 
Ari: What’s that? 
 
Adriana: They need a kazoo.
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