Posted on 2013/07/26 19:16
  • Live Report
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Who is up for a metaphor?

No stage has looked more bare than the arrangement for Sparks: a keyboard set atop a slight riser, 2 microphone stands, and a blue plastic cooler with bottles of water to the right.

The set began with Ron Mael carefully sitting behind the keyboard. His hair is carefully oiled and pulled back, and his trousers are belted rather high. He plays an intro this is reminiscent of an organ-grinder, the type of sounds you might here at an amusement park.  He runs though a number of shortish numbers and then Russel arrives, his brother, the animated one, the one with the falsetto, the one that can turn a trite phrase into an engaging, perplexing, bewildering song.

He begins by asking “Where did the beat go?”  which is basically the only lyric in the song “The Rhythm Thief.”  From there we go down the rabbit hole as the song “Metaphor” sees Russell implore the audience to “use them wisely, use them well.”

Sparks stick to the carnival like keyboard arrangements for much of the set, with Ron being expressionless playing a foil for Russel’s prancing, child-like, skip rope antics.

With the skillful application of a beret, Ron gets to his feet and announces the performance of a mini-opera, “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman” which is also the bands 22nd album. He briefly laments the popularity of escapist dramas and pines for more serious films in a rehearsed speech accompanied by himself on keyboard.

After some applause, Russel announces that a short film set to this song has played to good reviews at Cannes and will become feature length films, potentially playing at a “Japanese theater” according to Russel.

As we pass the halfway point in their set, the synth rhythms finally come forward as Sparks perform their hits “The Town Isn’t Big Enough For the Two of Us,” and “The Number One Song In Heaven.”  Of course, there is some camp, some comedy, and sincere thanks on the behalf of the Mael brothers.