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Live from First Avenue, Minneapolis

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Album Review

Live From First Avenue, Minneapolis captures the oddball histrionics of songwriter Mark Mallman in all of their subarena rock grandeur. Like the work of a certified schizophrenic (or two, or three), humorous novelty numbers such as "Cannibalive" (a Ben Folds-styled pomp rock send-up), "Hook Hand" (a mock ballad infused with dramatically absurd lyrics), and "Goodnight Goodbye" (Billy Joel as sung by Carrot Top) are obviously meant to confuse, not clarify matters. Taken as a joke, or taken seriously (better yet, taken as a serious joke), it's abundantly clear that Mallman's only prerogative is to provide his fans with pure entertainment value. How else could he explain inviting his own mother on-stage to duet on the Sparks-derived "Mother Made Me Do It"? That's right, resistance is futile and, well, pointless in the face of these undoubtedly silly, but incredibly catchy tracks — all of which are brought to a rousing climax with the honest-to-goodness pop music gold that is Mallman's best known composition, "We Only Have Each Other Tonight." In short, who said serious musicians can't laugh at themselves? Or is it the audience? Oh forget it!

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Minneapolis by way of Milwaukee singer/songwriter Mark Mallman got his start with trashy glam rockers the Odd in the late '90s (prior to that, Mallman had been in a few bands with future Promise Ring leader Davey VonBohlen). But the group was almost over as soon as it began, and Mallman launched a solo career straight away. In 1998 came the release of Mallman's solo debut, The Tourist, while the VonBohlen side project Vermont recorded a Mallman original composition ("We Only Have Each Other in the...
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Live from First Avenue, Minneapolis, Mark Mallman
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