Monday, August 04, 2008

Damn Yankheads

Buffalo Days, Buttkick's weeklong version of the fair, concluded last night with a concert by Weird Al Yankovic himself. And the Yankheads (as his devoted fans like to call themselves) were out in droves.

I went more out of curiosity than in, curious to see what kind of show this long-time song and pop culture parodist would put on, since most of his 'work' has been making videos that poke fun at big-time artists songs/videos. And although I appreciated his efforts, I tended to classify Weird Al as more of a novelty act.

I was first struck by how crowded it was...the outdoor venue was packed with people of all ages, from tweens and teens to older gals and guys like me. But for all the differences in age, there did seem to be one common denominator...the 'geek' factor. I'm not sure why he appeals so much to that sector...perhaps its his persona of the gangly bespeckled smartass taking on stars and celebrity musicians to knock them off their pedestals...but nevertheless, the nerds were there, en masse.

I believe I've written here before that I shook Weird Al's hand was in a Tower Records in Los Angeles, and as I was browsing I heard a small commotion over by the entrance. I noticed several people lining up at a table where Al was being seated for a scheduled cd signing. I! It's Weird Al! And though I didn't have his cd or any interest in purchasing his cd, I didn't mind waiting the couple minutes in line just to shake his hand and say I liked his work. He smiled and said thanks. That was it...short and sweet. But as far as the fans went, it didn't matter that it was LA...lots of mousey bookwormy gals wearing horn-rimmed glasses...or pimply-faced guys wearing black socks in sandals --- the nerd factor was there too.

And not to be knocking the nerds...I would be lying if I didn't admit I have some of the geek in me. Pretty much anyone who immerses themselves in the creative side of the TV/movie business has that cross to bear to some degree. Still, Weird Al seems to be a real hero of theirs...and this was news to me.

Anyway, Weird Al and his band hit the stage hard and fast and they never slowed down. And it was, in fact, a musical comedy multimedia event more than a concert. His spoof videos played on the big screens as he performed them, and there were clips from his Al TV television program between each number (mostly to allow Al and his band to change costumes). The accordion only came out a couple of times, but when it did the crowd, as they say. went wild.

Besides performing several medley's of the numerous songs he's parodied over the years, highlights included Canadian Idiot (parody of Green Day's 'American Idiot'), The Saga Begins (parody of Star Wars Phantom Menace set to Don McLean's 'American Pie'), and Bob (parody of the Bob Dylan video for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues') which I didn't really 'get' until I found out it was all done in palindromes...which then made it very cool.

But I fell hard for 'Trapped In The Drive-Thru' (a parody of R. Kelly's truly cringe-worthy urban soap music video drama Trapped In The Closet) Weird Al's animated masterpiece HERE.

He closed the night with 'the hits'... 'Living in Amish Paradise' and 'Fat', the latter replete with Michael Jackson leathers and fat suit. You knew that was the finale, there was no quick change out of that outfit. But he sent them away buzzing and one seemed disappointed in what amounted to about an eighty minute show.

It was only today I realized how popular Weird Al still is...the fact that his parody for Trapped, for example, has been viewed on YouTube nearly 5 million times, well over a million more views than R. Kelly's original. Or the fact that his last cd release, 2006's Straight Outta Lynwood, went platinum...this after over 20 years of doing his parody thing.

Anyway, this 'novelty act' proved to me he's more than a novelty act...Weird Al put on a terrific show and the Yankheads ate it up...and I will cop to tapping my toes and smiling while watching and eating my mini-donuts.

Oh yes. You heard me. I got mini-donuts. With cinnamon sugar. Two bags in fact. I might even freeze one know, save some for later.

Save mini-donuts for later? Yikes!

Am I a Yankhead and don't even know it???

1 comment:

Anon said...

I once won a Weird Al box set on Much Music. He asked me to bark like a chicken. I refused. They used a sound effect and I somehow still won. Then he asked me if I wanted an espresso or something. It was all very... confusing. The box set was actually quite entertaining and is still floating around somewhere... probably in my old bedroom at my parents house or something. I swear, when I get married, there`ll be no normal polkas. All Weird Al, baby! Just kidding.