Live at the Hi Dive!
TEXT BY BEN CURNETT/ PHOTOS BY TIM HINELY
Fuck whatever you think you know about rock and roll; if you haven’t seen Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds live, you don’t know shit. Powers is a revelation, and his music is a cracked thrift store window into the very soul of punk rock, an amalgamation of everything that’s ever been cool without caring, dismantling sound into subculture. Ascending the stage in a sequined cape donned over a leisure suit of a color not found in nature, Powers seemingly calls together the spirits of Harpo Marx, Snagglepuss, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Charles Nelson Riley, Timothy Leary, The Amazing Kreskin, Boris Karloff, Harry Caray, Roger from American Dad and a multitude of other weirdos from around the cosmos (and probably nodding along the way to Lux Interior and Jeffrey Lee Pierce, as Powers did stints with both, as well as with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds). Then, with this larger-than-life being he’s created, and along with his effortlessly astounding band the Pink Monkey Birds, who are possibly the only other three musicians that could channel this particular degree of uncut strangeness, Powers throws pop influence and punk heritage and maybe a Wagner opera into the meatgrinder that is a live audience and out the other end comes pulsing, electric hamburger laced with half of schedule 1.
Whatever the formula, they create the pure essence of fun, weird, raw music that keeps you thinking, as one fellow show goer put it, “I don’t really know what I’m seeing but I love it.” Powers sings. Powers dances. Powers talks to ghosts. Powers is a muppet possessed by a demon. Powers makes the greatest guitar face in the universe. Powers may have “Stop In The Name Of Love” on repeat in his head forever. Powers is a showman who could hypnotize a stadium and make everyone do the Mashed Potato to Pussy Galore. Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds are everything that’s wonderful about loud music, and you should pray to whatever demented gods may or may not exist that you have the chance to experience them just once while you thankfully exist on this earth at the same moment in time as they do, so you can say, at the end, that your life was complete.