There is a different kind of show going around. Promos for it are sweeping Columbus, whether through word of mouth or a poster at a recent concert outing. It’s a hybrid, to put in word form, half burlesque-half concert. It may not be for anyone — especially little kids and sex offenders — but it’s definitely a breath of fresh air into the local scene that can get very repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of great talent here in Columbus, and that’s a severe understatement. But how many times can one see their favorite band a month? Eventually the same set list has been seen multiple times and its time to start looking for something a little different. This is definitely a “little” different. The main culprit of these shows is the Electro Cult Circus (or ECC for short) which puts on majority of these shows. They generally include burlesque from a wide variety of troops — many in Columbus — different styles of music and a few alternative comedy sketches all rolled into one exciting concert ticket.
The burlesque is the main thing that really separates this show from any other concert. It flows so well into the show killing dead-time that’s usually spent wasting your money away (you don’t pay to come talk to your friend). The girls put on a hell of a good show, which is not just about taking clothes off, so don’t refer to them in the same stripper category—they will crush you.
“We’re more glorified strippers or artistic strippers,” says ECC and Ooh-La-Las Burlesque performer Vivienne Vega. “We take our clothes off in more of a teasing manner and have specified numbers we that we do.”
Each performance is a unique work of art. Need more proof than my words, check out Button Le Bouton & Snap LaSnap’s (Whom you may know from Anna & The Annadroids who steal every Trauma) rendition of “Black Snake Moan,” no clothes are taken off but it’ll be sure to excite you in the most art house way. It’s like feeling wood to a viewing of Tree of Life. This illustrates the variety, not of just the show but the burlesque as well.
“There’s something for everyone, so many different varieties. Slutty, funny, awkward, there’s just so many different personas,” adds Vivienne. One number could be Vivienne’s Nirvana boobie grunge rock-out session while the next will be the show-stopping belly dancing of Janaan Al Jahanni. There is so much to experience that this alone would make the show stand-out. But that’s only the part of the iceberg the Titanic saw.
What it missed is the variety of music. There is everything from dance pop to sexual ballads to the drug influenced alternative universe take of music that is Mas Bagua. There’s so much great music they bring in, such as Joey Hebdo — that dude is unreal! He’s doing 8 things I could never do individually, let alone do while singing, or show arousing Up All Nights, which is for a different article to come soon, but the thing that makes the music really stand-out is again the diversity of the three that are seen on most every bill, Teen Fiction, Electro Cult Cirus, & Mas Bagua.
“The music is different, kinda like The Beatles, you have three different artists with like energy and mind,” says ECC frontman Casey “Oddfellow” Ward. “It’s like the energy just comes together.”
Mas Bagua was created when Hunter S. Thompson’s acid melted his entire body into musical notes flowing through Andrew Davis mixer. Just listening to Mas Bagua gets me high, furthermore ECC supplies a video screen with visuals to really freak out anyone on drugs. It’s a hell of an experience sober or slightly off the cuff. With Andrew’s vocal shouts navigating your journey into the musical out of body, you can fully let go and embrace the wave of music carrying you to… well who the hell knows where, it changes every time.
“I’ve never heard Andrew perform any song the same twice,” laughs Casey.
Teen Fiction is a moveable dance party. Everywhere Bob Dawson sets up his fun guitar, a crazy RockBand looking drumset and keys, the crowd instantly responds. He concisely switches between his pop-fuzz sexy love soaked ballads to his rave inducing masters of all things moveable fun beat parties. Again don’t take my word for it, just throw on “The Weekend” or “Spin the Room” at the next house tea party and watch the floor get tore up like a Frat Rager. Never has a room been filled with so much sexual synergy than after a Teen Fiction show.
Last but surely not least, and don’t call me Shirley, is ECC. ECC can been seen as a cross genre mash with fun and sincere thoughts. The band holds back nothing and gives everything. Vastly overlooked as a band due to their success in comedy and perceived outlandish shows, ECC is a remarkably great band, on par with some of the more recognizable bands in Columbus. The hollowing sensual voice of Casey Ward carries you through the tasty riffs and solos over his guitar (electric or acoustic), to the stroll of pace defining bass of Salvatore Porchia, with a sprinkle of lust and hot ass by keyboarder and vocalist Matthew “Mondo” Marroquin, elegantly bumped to the beats and flute of Andrew Davis, finely topped with the sexiest vocal trio of Jessikah Sprouse, Angelina Marroquin, & Trulie Scrumptious. Don’t let their fun hooks and sexy drunk drug talks sway thoughts that they’re anything other than phenomenal band that they are. The band lures an unexpected listener in with this, then pounces on them with mind altering lyrics over the artsy sounds and jams that hit their mark every time, leaving the listener awe-struck and ready for the taking. They’re not done yet. Then they let out the beast of all things catchy, “Touch My Dick”. It’s impossible to leave a show and not being singing “If you want to be my friend, then just touch my dick now and again.” “Touch My Dick” is the song Jimmy Buffet always wanted to write, but never had the balls to say what he secretly was thinking. It’s with this that ECC has you, forever unable to leave this new brand of fun.
But alas, it can not be a Skitzo Show without the comedy, either via sketches, live performances or outside guests, ECC packs the laugh. A little of everything is brought to the table…then randomly disappears , only to re-appear behind someone’s ear by the surprisingly comedic Magic Nate who performs a great set full of childhood wonder that has managed to grow up. ECC also works with Offshoot Productions, a fellow comedy group in town, and many others to create their Skitzo Show Comedy. What started as a cable access comedy show, which was throw off the air after a town vote-HILARIOUS-has blossomed into live skits and filmed sketches, one of which has been banned in Germany.
“It’s a blend of alternative comedy with the likes of my favorite shows: Mr. Show, Kids in the Hall, Tim & Eric,” explains Casey. “With us adding people, it’s a constant work in progress, each person brings their own style. We really like using real-life scenarios to make comedy, much like Vivienne’s and Angie’s pregnancy (with Casey & Salvatore).
The group has even dived into crossing their comedy with burlesque, with Casey & Mondo’s Two Old Whores routine or the recently performed Sid & Nancy by Casey and Vivienne. Which was perfect for Casey.
“Only 2 things that make me happy…Sex and burlesque,” fantasizes Casey before adding. “Drugs, goes with it I guess.”
With sketches that include everything from coked-up TV talk shows to a Borat style Dark Knight run on the streets of the Big Easy, ECC crosses every line you put out there.
Together all of this creates one hell of a diverse ticket. Boobs, comedy, and music all on one stage! What more can one want from a $5-$10 ticket? It might not be your cup of tea, but it’s definitely one to try. Who knows? Your favorite show could be that much better with a touch of Burlesque and Comedy.
Make sure to check out ECC at their monthly Skitzo Show at Skully’s as well as Erotic N’ Roll and many others through Columbus. They also will be at Comfest with the fan loved Robo-tron and the entire downstairs room at Trauma.
Teen Fiction can be found all over Columbus, at most Skitzo Shows, The Late Nite Wake UP!, and where ever someone is need of music and a dance party.
Mas Bagua is floating the 3rd echelon of your consciousness and will appear whenever you’re ready for it.