LA’s Dengue Fever made a triumphunt bargain return to San Fran last Thursday. These past few years the band has mostly performed on New Year’s — very fun but pricey.
The show brought everything we’ve come to expect: fast, poppy dance numbers, mesmerizing solo vocal work, psychedelic sax and bouncing bass lines. Near the end, they brought up Maus Haus to sing along, and by the very end the stage was packed with fans.
SF’s Maus Haus opened the show with an energy-packed performance. Many of the tunes consist of 2 keyboards and drums. This is not a format I usually groove to, but the boys’ excitement was contagious. With Dengue Fever coming on and no antibiotics in sight, I had to give in. Excellent video projections behind the band added to the spectacle. The Flaming Lips would be proud.
If you are unfamiliar with the genius of Dengue Fever read on:
Singer Chhom Nimol sang traditional music at weddings and parties in Cambodia before joining the band in 2002. Senon Williams, the giant on bass, left Radar Brothers for Dengue Fever. Zac Holtzman left Dieselhead and his brother Ethan apparently brought back the cassettes from Cambodia that were the initial inspiration. 1960s Cambodian music is crazy good. Check out any of the fantastic Cambodian Rocks collections. I believe there are four.
Dengue Fever released their first (self-titled) record in 2002. That recording and 2007’s Escape from Dragon House were just re-released on the band’s very own Tuk Tuk Records! While yer at it, check out the 2009 movie Sleepwalking Though the Mekong where the band tours Cambodia for the first time!
In a curious coincidence, the aforementioned Radar Brothers were playing the Hemlock at the very same time. Despite a deep desire to see both shows, I could not convince my ride. Apologies to the fabulous Radar Brothers.