There's something to be said for ambition. With so many fledgling indie bands proud just to play to their base on nights and weekends, the flamboyant but chops-equipped boys of Fat City Reprise moved from South Philly all the way to Hollywood to try to "make it." What's interesting about that is the band's self-titled debut--released on the eponymous upstart label of their manager, Mike Lowe--is weirder and woollier than almost any mainstream act out there. It's as if Fat City Reprise are waiting for the music industry to catch up, instead of forcing themselves to backpedal into something more sellable.
Franky Pedano's gravelly, conversational singing and mad keyboard pounding leads the charge, followed closely by guitarist Nick Anastasi, bassist Mike Vivas and drummer Jay Miraglia. The result is a Muppets-worthy blend of Red Hot Chili Peppers funk-rock and growling Pearl Jam-isms folded into Motown-ish pop and Halls & Oates-inspired blue-eyed soul with a goofy jam-band flair. Arriving with hammy antics and geeky, long-haired good looks, these dudes are intent on implanting their mixed-bag shenanigans into the sorry state of modern rock.
Their album is the biggest weapon in their arsenal, ranging from the appropriately saucy "Taste of Mexico"--packed with nonsense lyrics like "Let's make a splash in that acid rain"--to the sensitive weeper "Waste." Then there's the woofing organs, battered drums and blazing guitar lead of "You're Fired," not to mention the would-be hit "Cowgirl," an affable entry that's sure to sneak up on unsuspecting Nickelback fans.
This headlining TLA is a homecoming show for Fat City Reprise, and probably a breath of fresh air after so much time out West. Having already opened for the Roots, the Flaming Lips, De La Soul and Fall Out Boy, their careening live show should be more than ready for primetime.
Theater of Living Arts,
334 South St.