Clapping and Stamping

Took in the Mah Jong show this weekend at the Rain Dancer, on the advice of Jon from the office, who was raving about them on Friday. It was a truly inspiring event. Mah Jong self-describes its music as "Totally hilarious all original funk/disco dance music," which isn't far off the mark. They play super-high-intensity funk with a very energetic stage presence and a decidedly offbeat lyrical twist. As a band, they basically have two settings: "high-energy" and "higher." This is a band whose two frontmen have to use headset mikes because they bounce around so much -- and this is on a stage maybe ten, twelve feet wide.

Mah Jong consists of three white guys, two of whom are grad students in philosophy at UW, and Yoshi the guitarist. Yoshi doesn't say anything, he just stands there and plays incendiary funk guitar and grins occasionally. The bassist and keyboardist make up for Yoshi's reserve with their full-steam-ahead assaults on Mah Jong's crowd-pleasing standards, songs like "The Heimlich Maneuver" (complete with lyrics and dance moves that provide a demonstration), "1040ez" (yes, about the tax form), "This Cavern is Very Exciting" (imagine Ren's cousin Sven playing disco funk, if you can).

They didn't play "Gubmint Cheese," their anthem about US dairy subsidies, but I can't resist quoting it here:

Comes from the food bank in big long block
Clogs your arteries makes your heart stop
I don't know whether this is real cheese or not
No expiration date anywhere on this box