,Rewind – The Acro-Cats and the Rock-Cats at Super Happy Funland 02/24/2011
By Ramon LP4
OK, so I know you guys are sick of all the cat talk over the last few days on this music blog but I figure after posting an interview and having the cats take over the weekend preview, you might want to know how the whole show actually went. Well, let me just say that contrary to what your more cynical instincts might have told you, The Acro-cats and the Rock-Cats were a huge hit over at Super Happy Funland this last week. We went by on Thursday night to check out the show and were more than pleasantly surprised at how fun the experience was.
We arrived just at 7pm and somehow got seats right in front of the band’s set-up (BONUS!) and the show started soon after. I don’t know why but the show unofficially started with an unnamed mammal which I swear was a groundhog that zipped across the stage in a remote control car. No, the groundhog didn’t drive it so it wasn’t really a trick. Instead, the animal was more an unwitting passenger but, trick or not, the audience cheered wildly because, let’s face it, the sight was horribly cute.
The show officially kicked off with the star of the show Tuna acting as comedic foil to trainer Samantha Martin by constantly ringing a small bell as she tried to deliver an opening monologue. Cute! Then, they followed up with the apprentice Acro-Cats. Introducing each cat, Martin patiently prodded these less experienced kitties into performing various tricks. The funny thing about this opening group of cats is that not all the cats pulled off their tricks – some cats failed to perform their trick out of indifference, distraction, or just because they just hadn’t mastered the trick but Martin was very good at putting this in perspective and did the whole act with enough humor where you didn’t so much worry if the cat succeeded but simply if they had tried their cat-best. My favorite was Nue who was very happy to tell the audience who was number one (Answer: she was).
The real Acrocats were more what you would expect - lots of leaping, climbing and the like. If that sounds like what cats usually do, that’s because many of the tricks were designed around the cats’ natural abilities but there were a few curve balls that were pretty funny – one was Buggles the skateboarding cat and the other was Hendiana Jones the hen. Yes, that’s right, a chicken and, oddly enough, the hen was one of the evening’s biggest stars - giving the cats a run for their money in bowling and easily besting Tuna in a bell ringing contest.
But what a lot of people came for was the band -the Rock-Cats. Martin introduced them saying, “They are the world’s only cat band. This, by the way, also makes them the worlds best cat band.” As you might expect, the band was easily one of weirdest band to play Super Happy (that’s saying a lot). Tuna played cowbell, Fiji took the drums, Henrietta Jones was on tambourine, Nue was on Piano, and Pinky took the guitar. No tape recorded music here folks, this was actual cats (and a hen) playing real instruments. Sure there were some modifications – the percussion was modified with a lever for the cats, the guitar and tambourine were on a stands but that really was Pinky reaching over and plucking the strings and it really was Hendiana pecking the tambourine.
OK, by now you may be saying, “Fine, but what did they sound like?” Well, let’s just say minimalist plunking and plinking with occasional percussive bonks – I guess you could say it was ummm…avante garde. Naysayers can say what they want but all I know is that they sounded better than Gweneth Paltrow did at the Oscars last night and unlike yesterday’s awards show people were cheering, having a good time, and entertained from beginnign to end. How could you be bored by the spectacle of a cat circus? Honestly, if you walked away thinking you didn’t get your $12 per ticket worth, then you are a soulless troll.