Smile Politely

Lollipop Factory Seduces Journalist

The typical method for discovering a new band is going to see a different band, sharing the bill. The bands know about this potential for discovery. In fact, this method is so common that bands intentionally set up shows in each other’s conquered territory.

Last night, I intended to see Terminus Victor at Mike n’ Molly’s. I discovered Lollipop Factory. They are my new favorite band.

In top hat and tights, two people from Ohio perpetrate a bizarre oratorio of structured, elaborate hard candy on unsuspecting beer drinkers. I was thoroughly unprepared, having expected a more psychedelic Fu Manchu.

I am not the first to mistake Lollipop Factory’s tour itinerary for a metal band’s. Unless the venues listed have all changed ownership, they will perform to metalheads tonight, tomorrow, and next week I wonder if those audiences will be surprised, too. I can’t imagine them not being receptive. Whatever else it is, Lollipop Factory is a spectacle. Men in spandex do play metal. But they usually accessorize it with studs, not stripey stockings.

And I suppose, in a roundabout way, that you could label the music as metal — if you, like a lot of the world’s butchest leather aficionados, think of Queen as heavy metal. In other words, Lollipop Factory recalls much of Jellyfish louder material — while the top hat and stripes provide the visual cue. (If you forward to the 5 minute mark of this video, you’ll see what I mean. Ignore the extra guitarist, he’s a figment.)

The last she-bang/he-strum duo I stumbled across were dressed all in red, and they were really awful.

In March 2001, I attended my third SXSW. Having roughed it for a couple of years — sleeping in cars, etc. — I felt lucky to have hit jackpot digs. My friend Chrysta Bell was living in a loft on Neches, between 5th and 6th—a considerable upgrade.

On the Friday, I returned from umpteenth beery barbeque to find her hosting an extremely relaxed (some might even say “stoned”) music attorney from LaLa named Ian Montone. Chrysta Bell’s group was on the splits, and she was well situated to make a new launch. This guy Ian had dropped by to chat and Chardonnay about it with her.

By the time I got there, things were wrapping up — and I practically insisted that everyone get across the street to see my new favorite band Call & Response at an outdoor event.

We made it in time to catch all of the Call & Response set, and also saw the aforementioned duo in red. I specifically remember it was the worst guitar sound I’d heard to that point. And I asked someone next to me if I were imagining that the instrument (acoustic, yet amplified) were covered in brown construction paper. It sounded as if it were covered in brown construction paper. (It looked that way, too — but one learns not to trust one’s senses after a few Shiners.)

The Montone fellow disappeared. Someone suggested that he’d taken a call from an important client named “Diddy” or somesuch. It’s a good thing that he didn’t catch the red pair, as he might not have been willing to negotiate a seven figure contract for them the next year.

Or maybe he did see that set, and — using his music professional skills — extracted something worthwhile from it. Who knows, perhaps if it weren’t for Call & Response, those two would still be married, driving their own van, and living off I-75 — just like Lollipop Factory.

Call & Response evaporated into various side projects and Real Jobs. Chrysta Bell found a new patron. Meanwhile, Ian Montone and the red pair made a million dollars.

I think my happening upon the bands at last night’s show will not result in such rich consequences. Terminus Victor’s karma may not earn Lollipop Factory a million dollar record deal. But that just means that you’ll be able to get good seats next time.


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