Well, it took nearly a week to mentally regroup from the insanity witnessed on stage on Easter Sunday. At a resurrected Parish on the East side, Resound Presents welcomed the longstanding anonymous art collective, The Residents, for their Faceless Forever / Dog Stab! Tour. The tour, which was originally scheduled for 2020, correlated to the 40th Anniversary release of the classic, Duck Stab!. As always with all things, Residents, the performance was a wild synthesis of surreal, avant-garde artistic ventures and wide-eyed catharsis. Follow the jump for more.

Opening the evening was a special screening of the bands latest foray into the film world, Triple Trouble. The film was directed by Homer Flynn of the Cryptic Corporation and the Residents in 2020 during COVID and released in 2022. Set in San Francisco, the film followed the trials and tribulations of Randy Rose’s son, Junior, “an idealistic but emotionally isolated man, who replaces his belief in God with faith in a fungus”. He also slowly comes to grips with the death of his mother and the realization of his father’s (Randy) history as a founding member of the band, The Residents. With an 80 min. run time, the film was ambitious given the limitations of the timing of its creation. It had a little bit of everything going on: from fungal transmutations, echoes of wiccan influence, and nostalgic throwbacks to the days of Residents past, including archival footage of a long unfinished film, Vileness Fats. It was a sprawling trip through the psychedelic history of the band and set the tone of the evening perfectly.

After the film and a short break for the crowd to regroup after the madness on screen, the mysterious quartet finally emerged fully masked and donning elaborate custom red eyeball suits, matching fedoras, black rimmed glasses befitted with LEDs, black dress shirts, and plain skinny white ties. Long gone is the era of top-hats, tuxedos, and eye-ball masks that has become the most ubiquitous look the band has created throughout the years. Here is a more modern stylistic choice and with the anonymity of mask wearing during the pandemic, the band fit right in with what they have been doing for literally decades concealing their identities.

As is representative of the group, the mystery surrounding the identities of the members has and will always allow the music and the performances to come first. This has been a stalwart of the project since Day 1 and allows for pure musical and lyrical freedom from individuality. This freedom was seen across the entire setlist, which covered 13 LPs in total going all the way back to the debut LP, Meet the Residents, with the raspy Smelly Tongues, released way back in 1974. Much of the set featured the bands latest release, Metal, Meat & Bone: The Songs of Dyin’ Dog, and the aforementioned Duck Stab!, which has been always been one of the groups most accessible titles and a good place to start for anyone interested in where to begin in such an extensive discography.

The fifth member of the band was the ever-present eye in the middle of the stage production with projected ephemera of the years gone past throughout the production. Aside from the singer, as is usual, there was little to no audience interaction. The rest of the quartet quietly went about their business over the 25-song set with little deviation. The audience was similarly entranced for most of the evening with a subdued awestricken response especially on the encore version of Diskomo, from the companion piece to 1980s Eskimo. Classic tracks in Constantinople and Laughing Song, both from Duck Stab! garnered the most enthusiasm from the audience, but as is expected, the setlist kept everyone on their toes. The tour acted as somewhat of an extended release party of the groups 60th LP in Metal, Meat & Bone, covered several tracks including DIE, DIE, DIE which is winding tale about a murderous dead dog written by Resident collaborator Alvin “Dyin’ Dog” Snow, and Cut to the Quick with its Tom Waits-esque angst.

Overall, in their first tour in nearly a decade and the first trip to Austin in as long as I can recall, it truly was a night to remember and left much to ponder for the stunned crowd. You can always be sure when seeing the Residents that they will challenge you both visually and sonically, taking the performance art scene to the pinnacle of its liberties and back to the doldrums of its limitations. While they can come across as self-indulgent, they always seem to find the right moment to provide levity, self-deprecation, and rekindle the absurdity that is the music scene. More bands should take notice if they do not already know the epic history that is the collective to see what possibilities exist in the art form. It is truly refreshing to see the continued path of the quartet throughout the years and there seems to be no end in sight and we are all better for that. Long live the Residents!

Check out the link for all the show photos.


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