Fulks makes for nearly a perfect night of music
The Knitting Factory, Hollywood, Cal., Sept. 15, 2001
By Dan MacIntosh
HOLLYWOOD, CA - Robbie Fulks is a tall and lanky fellow, and he makes a nerdy kind of country music; something like Ben Folds would sound like, if he'd idolized Hank Williams, rather than Elton John.
At a time when even Madonna concerts have become politicized, Fulks never once pandered to America's new wave of patriotism during his set. Instead, he danced with the sometimes-bizarre musical partners that brought him to the forefront of alt.-country.
He may appear a little on the strange side when performing such oddball offerings as "Wedding of the Bugs," but he also has a keen observer's eye for the oddities of others. This was especially displayed with "Roots Rock Weirdos," where he half-sung; half acted out a response to plethora of time-warped '50's music fans littering today's musical landscape. At one point, he asked how these overly tattooed ones even go back to work in the morning after a show.
Fulks may play the clown, but as exemplified by his cover of "Cocktails" and his fine down home singing on "Parallel Bars," he certainly knows his way around a real country song.
But his new "Mad At A Girl" and older "Caroline" showed him to be equally comfortable with classic pop sounds as well.
Except for his hilarious half attempt at "4th Of July" (with its writer, Dave Alvin, in the house doubling over in laughter) Fulks paced his late night set perfectly, with hardly a moment to breathe between songs.
Fulks has trouble fitting neatly into any musical category, the same way most tall guys have trouble fitting into clothes. But this was a night without boundaries or the fashion police, which made for nearly a perfect night of music.