A comedy rock hoedown at DiPiazza’s

A few songs into their set and the five guys who form the comedic rock band Trainwreck were glowing with enough enthusiasm to invigorate the rain tattered crowd at DiPiazza’s on Saturday.

Fronted by Kyle Gass of Tenacious D, Trainwreck is a southern rock band with a twist — witty lyrics that place an extra emphasis on hillbilly customs.

In appearance, the quintet could easily be mistaken for any highly stereotypical hick, country band. Donning mullets, handlebar mustaches and leather vests, each member of the musical comedy act delved into their stage personas and adopted a character of their own choosing.

JR Reed, also known as Lee of the D when he accompanies Tenacious D onstage, shared the role of lead vocalist with Gass, occasionally using instrumental breaks as an opportunity to showcase his over-the-top Charleston-like dance moves.

Trainwreck’s latest album entitled “The Wreckoning” was released in December and has created a decently-sized fan following. Despite the heavy rain, crowds packed into the cozy venue to presumably laugh and bask in the sound of cold cut rock music.

In particular, an eager bunch of teenage boys provided incessant cheering and guffawing. In response, Gass said, “If the world were all like you, we’d be like U2 right now. We’d be playing the Enormodome or Long Beach Arena.”

Although these teenage boys may have been the loudest attendees, they were not the only ones to respond to the quick wit and sly absurdity of Gass and Reed’s repartee. Between songs, this sort of witty banter was commonplace, creating a fine mixture of standup comedy and down-home southern rock tunes.

The twisted humor behind such songs as “Brodeo,” “El Mustachio” and “Milk the Cobra” left the audience in stitches.

However, a song called “Rock Boulder Mountain” proved to be less focused on funny lyrics and more on its rock and roll sensibilities.

Although it began to the tune of a flute, the song eventually gained a metal groove capable of fitting in with any classic rock jams. Complete with a shredding guitar riff from the band’s guitarist, John Konesky, the song sent steady vibrations through the floorboards of the intimate club.

On the other hand, “Brodeo,” the band’s current single, is an ode to man-on-man bonding with lyrics that read, “When the bro-verload occurs, we’ll all take off our shirts and wrestle in the dirt.” The song had teenage boys and grown men alike loudly pledging to “sing our manthem all across the lands.”

Although the songs provided their own share of laughs, it was the manifestation of the live act that tied everything together. There was something especially wacky in the visual of Gass wearing a cheap toupee, prancing about with a flute, alongside the sight of Reed constantly whipping his comb out of his back pocket to rake stray mustache hairs back in place. If the music didn’t capture your attention, such dramatic antics surely would.

The band’s set closed with a cover of the “Flashdance” classic “What A Feeling,” offering John Spiker, the band’s usual bassist, an opportunity on lead vocals. He dedicated the song to all the girls in the audience and, consequently, got them screaming. That is, until Spiker took a headfirst face plant into the audience. Recuperating quickly, the band simply brushed the incident off to look like another crazy skit that made their act unique.

Trainwreck’s performance at DiPiazza’s on Saturday night kicked off their nation-wide tour of 15 cities. On stage, Gass remarked that they would be touring “across the United States in a truck” with their next show taking place tonight in Flagstaff, Ariz. Their album “The Wreckoning” is available in stores now.


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