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THELONIOUS ASSAULT

Thelonious Monster is a prime example of the current wave of local bands to whom irreverence is next to godliness and whose live gigs convey the attitude that performing on stage is one big joke.

Luckily, the group usually lets the audience in on the gag, sharing in the unpredictable inferno of their highly informal mix of blues, punk thrash, funk, folk and jazz.

At the Music Machine on Thursday night, long-haired, bespectacled singer Bob Forrest screamed his face red and his vocal cords ragged when not offering up sly music-biz gags between tunes and arguing with the other six crewmen about which song to play. “Let’s go back and get it right,” he suggested after one song, pointing out a goof toward the end. The rest of the band balked at repeating the botched chorus. “I’m involved with some unprofessionals here,” he apologetically explained to the audience, shrugging. “I’m sorry.”

Forrest’s wicked wit soon turned vicious as he improvised profane lyrics about the club’s policies and personnel, daring soundmen to lower the video screen in front of the stage. It came down, all right--and became the brunt of battling bodies. That’s entertainment!

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