Crazy Uncle Dent @ Chop Suey
Dent May/Jack Name/Acapulco Lips Live @ Chop Suey
January 29, 2014
By Abe Beeson
My college roommate introduced me once to his Uncle, who regaled us college boys with tales of playing guitar with Brian Wilson on some unreleased recordings. He told us he could have been a star, if only he’d gotten a break. Then he told us he was building a time machine.
“I’m going back to tell the past me how he can be a star. In fact, I think I’ll just switch places with him. He’ll be young and talented and I’ll teach him how to make it in the 21st Century music world. Then I’ll stay in the past and get rich betting on sports.” I never saw him again. Until tonight.
OK, that whole story is BS. But Dent May could be that crazy Uncle.
Playing to a small but enthusiastic Wednesday night crowd at Chop Suey, Dent and his band from Mississippi had us all dancing to the spot-on blend of light rock and disco found on his latest CD, Warm Blanket (Paw Tracks Records). You hear definite Beach Boys influences in the tasty melody and harmony lines, clever twists that recall Nillson, The Carpenters, and even The Captain & Tenille (may their love RIP). Even better, these great sounds emerge from under seriously uncool glasses and a hair parted on the side in a style that recalls a young Bill Gates.
The Dent May Group is a simple quartet with 80’s flavored keys, Isaac Hayes-worthy bass, and super-tight drumming with our hero Dent strumming his high-slung guitar and singing in a voice that ranges from high falsettos to a low rumble.
And we danced. Remarkable still in Seattle, the diverse audience of 75 or so were grooving and shaking, with many couples (including yours truly and my sweetheart) going total Prom-style on Dent’s 50’s slow jam “Do Things” (from a previous album of the same title.)
I’m a fan of this guy, I have three of his albums, but it was thrilling to be among a group of my neighbors in thrall to this Southern Gentleman late on a rainy Wednesday in January.
And that’s what I hope you take from this review – along with a burning desire to hear some of Dent May’s music for yourself – I hope you can make time to take a chance and get out to see some good music in a small club in your own backyard. It’s one of my favorite things about living in this city. It attracts great music every night.
For the record, year old Seattle-area band Acapulco Lips opened the show and gave notice that their tasty blend of garage-surf will make them a band to watch this year. Jack Name was second on the bill, the new alias of John Webster Johns (unfortunate name), who plays droning laptop tones with dentist-drill guitar and sings. He’s joined by an unnamed female vocalist/knob twiddler. I didn’t get it.
Abe Beeson has been heard hosting Evening Jazz weeknights on 88.5fm KPLU since ’98. You may have also heard him hosting The Live Room on 90.3fm KCMU (KEXP) from ’93 to ’02 and he occasionally picks up a fill-in shift when they’re desperate. We’re delighted to have him as the newest NadaMucho.com contributor.