Fish Circus

Beauty Bar, Aug. 21

If you’ve seen Absinthe, which was recently awarded Vegas Seven’sBest New Show,” you’d never expect the petite Penny Pibbets—the high-energy, crude-joke-slinging sidekick of the circus tent—to have a band that plays any type of mainstream music. And you’d be right. Fish Circus, the six-piece L.A.-based outfit that Pibbets fronts, is hard to define. Part Gypsy punk, part ska and part art noise, Fish Circus has a sound not often heard ’round these parts. It would be as if Gwen Stefani joined Oysterhead. Does that sound weird? Now you’re getting it.

Pibbets and Co. put forth an enthusiastic set, playing in front of a large crowd for more than an hour at the release party for their third album, Dinner With the Commodore. Make no mistake, this was a spectacle. Aside from the music, there was the male trombone player in a thong giving a lap-dance to a male audience member. There was a purposely bad juggling act. And there were sparkly-blue body-painted girls dancing to “Boobies,” which would have been one of their best songs even without the beauties.

However, the jovial night was marred once again by technical problems. I attended two shows at Beauty Bar this weekend, and the voices from the crowd are becoming more vehement about the poor sound quality, which obscures vocals. Many patrons are becoming more agitated as this issue has plagued the bar for most of the year. It’s time they listen to their customers and step up the sound.

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Lead singer Martha Davis summed it up best after the Motels opened their three-song set with “Suddenly Last Summer” by letting the audience know that this tune could have been the theme of the entire night. As she sang, “One summer never ends/One summer never began” it was as if we were our own 1980s summer movie with our feet in the sand or our legs knee-deep in the pool, watching bands whose heyday was 30 years ago play their hits.