Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang performed a sold-out show at The Kent Stage on March 6. The audience was treated to an intimate performance, reminiscent to the formation of band, away from the city and by campfire.
With only the shine of Claypool’s shoes and random glints from the metallic of Bryan Kehoe’s guitar, the duo looked ominous and like two figures you wouldn’t want to stumble upon; for they’d either scalp you in your sleep or tell stories that would leave you shaking for days.
The strange soiree began with “Winona’s Big Brown Beaver”, a Primus cover, that regardless of its stripped down presentation, it had a groove and slide with the snare drum and heavy guitar fills replaced with Kehoe’s metallic whistlin’ and Claypool’s foot-stompin’.
The name “Jerry” was brought up several times. Claypool hinted at the notion in between songs, to reveal the riddle through a Jerry Reed cover, “Amos Moses”, an Alice in Chains cover, “Man in the Box” – Claypool infused Jerry Cantrel’s shrieking guitar riffs with his voice that could’ve been a Native American chant – and a Primus cover, “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver”.
The least twang infused interpretation, “Pipeline” by The Ventures, involved Claypool’s bass invoking rolling and surging waves. Kehoe strummed the California-coolness of the surf culture. With their faces barely lit by the fabricated fire and Claypool’s elated “La la las”, the song invoked more of a bizarre, brave campfire tale, than a surf classic.
For the encore, Claypool taunted the audience with a snippet of the Southpark theme and stopped after the audience’s lackadaisical response. After some banter and taunting, he provoked them to sing their best Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman.
The duo ended with Claypool fan-favorite, “Iowan Gal”, and Beegee’s cover, “Stayin’ Alive”, wrapping up the campfire tales. The mystique of the pair was never identified. It didn’t need to be, as the duo dissipated into the night, leaving their songs with the audience for days, as well as a bizarre rendezvous you’d tell of for years but never experience again.