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The Higher Irony

Grand Buffet, the Ottobar, Feb. 25

By Jim Breihan | Posted 3/8/2006

“Yeah, well, we’re gonna play the cat song last, so you have to listen to all the songs you don’t give a shit about first!,” announced Jarrod Brandon Weeks, one half of Grand Buffet. Although Pittsburgh’s laptop-rap duo calls Baltimore its home away from home, Weeks felt that this Ottobar crowd only loved it for one goofy story-rap, 2002’s “Let’s Go Find the Cat.” As Grand Buffet blazed through its set of catchy but densely lyrical material, mostly off of its 2003 EP Pittsburgh Hearts, the duo’s self-aware and cerebral sarcasm wasn’t able to live up to the comic buffoonery of its opening acts.

Local beatboxer Shodekeh started the show off with live saxophone accompaniment and ended his set battling another beatboxer, showcasing a wealth of talent but failing to get bodies moving. Dan Deacon came down onto the floor and brought the crowd to life with his indecipherably modulated vocals and a story about Spider-Man asking him, “Dan, look inside my dick.” Apparently MICA kids eat this kind of shit with a spoon. Peelander-Z, a Japanese punk band made up of four Power Rangers-like costumed heroes, got the most love of the night with pretty standard power-chord pop punk and pretty heavily accented banter: “Be nice in your home. Go crazy with the Peelanders!” The music took a backseat to antics like inviting audience members to play their instruments.

The same crowd that started a mosh pit for the Peelanders didn’t know what to make of Grand Buffet rapping about Benjamin Franklin, devil worship, and hot dogs over bouncy beats. The two actually had to explain before their religious-right rock song—“We think abortion is pretty messed up/ If you don’t want a kid, then don’t be a slut”—that it doesn’t represent the group’s actual views. “We love all our fans, but there are a portion who don’t get the higher irony,” Grand Buffet’s Jarrod explained after the show. Unfortunately, those fans missed out on a good show while they waited for Grand Buffet to sing a 4-year-old song about driving around looking for a lost cat.

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