No need to scrub the windows to your soul, fellow Echoplex patrons: you did indeed spy what turns out to be a simple coffee can perched atop the patented Quintronics Drum Buddy, which is everybody’s favorite primary color-themed light-activated analog beat box. This fine piece of dreamy machinery co-starred Friday evening alongside Bittburg-born genius—and long-time New Orleans 9th Ward resident, club owner, organist and patent-holding inventor—Mr. Quintron and his feisty fraulein Miss Pussycat.
The abstruse duo have been inseparable for more than a decade, funding their visionary expeditions through their Big Easy night club the Spellcaster Lodge, Pussycat’s VICE/VBS TV puppet soap opera series Trixie and the Tree Trunks, and Quintron’s Drum Buddy, which consists of five-oscillators under the influence of photo sensitive resistors… which explains why Quintron repeatedly called for Echo techs to “turn down the house lights, please—the Drum Buddy can’t function in this light!”
To get a rounded summary of the evening, the Drum Buddy must be elevated from the role of a background extra to starring member in the traveling circus. Its importance cannot be underestimated as it is truly a work of functional art. It was the initial limited release of ten Drum Buddies at the turn of the millennium that transformed Quintron’s reputation from eccentric artist to genius innovator. Quintron wisely controlled the Drum Buddy’s rise to superstardom, making a scarce commodity out of a carefully constructed oddity with the knowledge that the essence of the instrument is oftentimes more valuable than the object itself. Guitar hero and LA native Nels Cline proudly owns one, as does legendary NYC performance artist and fellow instrument designer Laurie Anderson.
A Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat tour is rare as each tour involves an insane amount of pre-production aided by their intimate and devoted circle of attractive Crescent City confidantes—like the girlfriends that frequently end up on Quintron’s cheerleading squad clad in theme coordinated outfits, designed by Miss Pussycat of course! Each of their magical mystery tours begin with a haunting puppet theatre performance, featuring characters that make the inhabitants of Lewis Carroll’s rabbit-hole seem like a humdrum community of literary has-beens.
Echoplex patrons new to Pussycat’s brand of psycho-charming puppet theatre were unexpectedly deflowered amidst her swirl of psychedelicious neon art, electro-clash muzak, black light-lit demented puppetry, and social commentary. This year’s engaging plot line is thinly veiled anti-corporate art: Pussycat muse ‘Trixie’ and cuddly BFF/bandmate ‘Marsha’ enter the neon lair of wicked witch curator ‘Christy Cornpop’ and are tricked into engaging with portraits designed to hypnotize. Marsha is unwittingly transformed into a marble statue to become the gallery’s star. With a little help from a machine gun-wielding super Santa, Cornpop loses her head in a shower of mylar shrapnel and Trixie manages to resurrect Marsha. As Pussycat’s theatre of the absurd concluded, an unanointed youth from the audience turned to her seasoned friend: “Is this what it’s like to trip acid? I want my mommy!”
Quintron succeeded Pussycat with a maniacal one-man showcase, taking a seat behind his hot rod organ—retrofitted with a 70s-style Lincoln Continental grill, functioning clip-lights for headlamps, and Louisiana plates aptly reading ‘QUINTRON’—and wildly tickling the ivory with both hands, stomping a high-hat with his left foot and whipping the audience into epileptic frenzy through a Category 4 energy transfer. The fact that he zipped his one-piece jumpsuit down to just above his third leg most definitely added to the heat wave. Miss Pussycat and an unknown cheerleader that could have had a successful career as a KGB love operative provided backup in homemade denim dresses featuring satin appliqué Drum Buddies….
And I also urge you to check out their tour mates, Brooklyn’s highly addictive Golden Triangle. Drummers on lead vocal duty are always risky business, but front man ‘Sodapop’ doesn’t bend over for Boy Scout badges…his vocals resemble that of a young Richard Hell with a sober faux-fragility that will win your trust, then deliver your cheap-date ass to the curb before the sun has a chance to rise. Their genius stage blocking makes up for his immobility; he’s flanked by dueling guitarists educated in the halls of No Wave (with Thurston Moore for a part-time tutor), a platinum fox bassist distilling vintage fuzz-tone distortion stage right, and a new incarnation of the B-52s’ Cindy & Kate to soften center stage with soaring soprano harmonies and tambourine dream percussion.