Dastardly’s CATASTROPHE! An Old-Timey Western Variety Show

Tuesday night at the Hideout, Chicago indie-western favorites Dastardly put on a show the likes of which hasn’t been seen in ages. Combining music and comedy to hilarious and delightful results, Gabe Liebowitz and company entertained the crowd with their “Hee-Haw for hipsters” good time.

Playing MC for the night was Chad Briggs as the not too quick “Dickie Phipps.” I think he made me laugh every time he said his characters name. His twant was hilariously exaggerated, and every time he said Phipps his voice went really high. His job was the most low-key of the evening, but he didn’t let that keep him down. The highlights of his performance came mainly when he was reading the “paid advertising.” Products included “Morning after biscuits” and the new Hank Williams jr album Hitler, Netanyahu, and You. The best one was for a brand of butt plugs that went something like this:

The first non-Dastardly act was comedian Joe Fernandez. The theme of the show being Catastrophe, he began his set by telling us his girlfriend had just left him, the sobbing heavily for about a minute. They say the best comedy comes from tragedy, and this set proved it. His voice and delivery reminded me a bit of Will Forte, and I think the tone that he set would fit in with a Forte character as well. My favorite moment in his stage time was his impression of Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino working in a bagel factory:

After each act Dastardly played a couple tunes. I won’t go too deep into detail on them, as I’ve screamed their praises til I was hoarse. Simply put they are one of the most entertaining bands you can see in Chicago. They toured the east and west coast this year, and have garnered praise at each stop. A couple new songs got played that I thought were excellent, and they’re called “Brief Thoughts On Death” and “Church Date.” They played thirteen songs in total, and they were all great (this is an older one):

Next up was an old cowboy movie star named Les Sanders (played by Jamison Webb). He did a Q and A with Gabe where they talked about some of his roles and why his career ended so abruptly. Some of that was funny, but his best jokes came in the song he wrote about the Occupy Wall Street Movement:

The final act to go on before intermission was Chris Condren. He came to the stage under the guise of a Julliard-trained pianist. He brought a Casio keyboard with him and went on to play some bizarre and glorious covers. My favorite being Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” after introducing it as a song about rape. He was funny, and of all the sets I wish his had gone on just a little bit longer. Apparently his Catastrophe was that he’s an epilleptic:

After intermission Dastardly played a slew of songs, and then our final billed act took to the stage. Ruby Weapon was listed as a children’t act, but could not have been further from that. After a misfire with their music, the duo launched into a rap about working for pussy tech support. Hilarious? Yes. Bizarre? Absolutely. The guys were spittin’ hot fire and humping the speakers and mic stands throughout the song. The two funniest things to me were the dudes glowing gloves, and then when he zipped his head up in his jacket; what do you think he’s trying to look like there?

The super secret special guest to close the night was zombie Patsy Cline, as played by Danielle Puterbaugh. The comedy on this one I didn’t enjoy so much. Some of it was funny, but whatever. When she opened her mouth to sing “Crazy” I could hardly believe it was the same person. She had a really great sounding voice. Unfortunately her song was cut short by Katy Perry (played by Tiffany Puterbaugh) who thought Patsy was lame and wanted to sing “Firework.” This ended in a melee that turned bloody.

Once Katy was dead, Dastardly took the lead again to finish off with their spiritual hymn “Jews Don’t Go To Heaven.”

This was a seriously fun show, and I hope they do it again. At just under two hours it was a perfect length and entertaining enough to probably go another hour. Gabe deserves a lot of credit for getting this thing together and everyone involved should be thanked for taking part and delivering the goods. Nothing is worse than a comedy/musical that sucks. On the flipside, nothing is better than a comedy/musical show that’s awesome, which this was.

To check out some of Kari’s awesome pics from the evening, head over to Facebook!

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