The Extraordinaires are a mess of eccentric ideas blended and transformed
into a delightful treat. Fresh from a tour with gypsy punks Gogol
Bordello, The Extraordinaires are a rare type of band that honest-to-goodness
put the performance back into the live show.
The Extraordinaires don fanciful costumes, pen in-character monologues and construct
elaborate sets to bring its Ribbons Of War album and Short Stories EP to the stage. Even when the level of obvious
theatrics is minimized the band members are natural characters, throwing themselves into every song with head-banging and thrashing.
When I last saw The Extraordinaires, it was a bill with Real Estate. Coming out in sombreros, The
Extraordinaires kicked off its first song with a recorded samba beat. In between old favorites, the band's use of recorded material, including
applause, was clever without being heavy-handed. A particularly
memorable moment was when Jay Purdy impersonated Mario, hopping along to
the Mario bounce sounds and even climbing the wall up to the balcony. The Mario theme segued into a rollicking folk
jam without a hint of downtime. Similar to their unclassifiable music, their stage antics
capture a zaniness that appears to be inherent rather than gimmicky.
The Extraordinaires are a band
that demands to be seen live, or else. Lucky for us, they will
be playing frequently around the East Coast in the coming months, with shows in Philadelphia, where their madcap music truly belongs.