What makes a good Late Night talk show? A personable and funny host with a kick ass house band that can play anything under the sun. Can they handle any guest, while asking interesting questions? And do they have the ability to keep their audience completely entertained?
Normally, this would be a simple review of Andy Frasco’s show at Madison Live Thursday night, but this review is also the beginning of a petition to get Andy Frasco a late night talk show. If you’re unfamiliar with Frasco’s work, then it’s important to know that Frasco already does have a podcast, where he interviews musicians and friends primarily throughout the jam scene.
The podcast titled, “Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast,” is Frasco’s mission to interview people who interest him, all while trying to help its listeners and its guest get through the tough parts of life. The show is hilarious at times, as well as being incredibly sincere and heartfelt.
So he has the hosting capabilities down, now its really his live act that would make this the best talk show. Frasco and his band are known as the “wild men” of the jam scene, and this being my first time seeing them, I had some idea of what to expect. By the third song I was helping prop Frasco up as he crowd surfed through the Madison venue.
With a Jameson bottle in one hand and a mic in the other Frasco was true to form. Smoking cigarettes and joints from the crowd, Frasco was a man of the people and fed off the crowd. When Frasco came out on stage you could see his genuine surprise, as he was greeted by a packed house of Cincinnati’s dedicated jam base. “I didn’t realize there would be this many people,” said Frasco as he sat down at his keyboard. Then proceeded to build up the band to 100 percent and that would be where they would stay for the next two and a half hours.
I was wondering going into the show, where Frasco really fit into the jam scene. Upon entry it was clear that you had dead heads, phish fans, and everything in between but like any jam band you really have no idea what they’re about until you see them live.
The U.N. would transition into these cover-like jams that ranged from anything, Rage Against the Machine, to the Beastie Boys, to Iron Maiden into the amazing blaring sax of Ernie Chang that would go on for ten minutes at times only to enter back into one of Frasco’s originals.
The show never ceased to amaze me, from Frasco’s onstage antics to bringing out guests like Cincinnati’s own Freakbass to battle his guitar player Shawn Eckles on the spot, to him dealing with a constant monitor and mic issue all while never once slowing down the pace of the show. By the end of the two and half hour set it was clear that Frasco and his band had, had enough shots and run through a good chunk of their catalog that it was time to end the never ending encore.
In the end the audience was left with a buzz in the air and the band didn’t just walk off stage, they turn on the house lights and were right out in the crowd drinking and talking with anyone who wanted to talk to them. I personally was left thinking that, this may have been the most entertaining show I have been to in a long time. From meeting the hype, I had heard about the band to simply wanting nothing more than to have fun and give the crowd an experience they’ve never had.
Frasco’s stage presence is something that the jam scene needs. A wild man whose antics are apart of his jam and improvisation, like rock needed Iggy Pop and indie music needed a Mac DeMarco, Frasco is a live act no one should ever miss. It is truly unique and simply an insane experience. Andy Frasco & The U.N. are the worlds house band on a mission to make it a better party and this is all just Frasco’s show.