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All the Residents men

'The Ghost Of Hope' is a dark chapter in the group's legacy of abnormality

Music Residents10 1 09
Photo credit: Courtesy Poor Know Graphics
DUCK STABBED: The Residents

The Residents are back on the road, playing North American tour dates on the “In Between Dreams” tour. For 46 years the Residents have served as America’s premiere and totally anonymous avant-garde musical outfit. The San Francisco-based group is recognized mostly by the top hats, tuxedos, and oversized eyeball masks its members wear — forever staring back through covers of albums such as 1976’s The Third Reich ‘N Roll, 1979’s Eskimo, and 2017’sThe Ghost Of Hope.

Their latest album emerged as an even darker chapter in the Residents’ legacy of abnormality. Surrealistic stories of death, dismemberment, and destruction guide the listener through a portal into the train wrecks of the American railroad era via songs such as “Horrors of the Night,” "The Crash at Crush," and “Train Vs. Elephant.”

For the “In Between Dreams” tour, the group sheds much of the Randy, Bob, and Chuck personas its members had adopted in recent years, to embrace a more impressionistic dive into the live Residents experience. Classic Residents numbers such as “The Black Behind,” and covers of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” and Hank Williams’ “Six More Miles (To the Graveyard),” blend into a wildly colorful and rocking psychedelic performance — a distillation of everything for which the Residents have come to be known. Anonymity notwithstanding, rumors abound that recent Residents lineups have featured keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band. Eye caramba!

The Residents play the Variety Playhouse on Sun., April 29. $30. 7 p.m. (doors). Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.

 

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