Last night Jesse and I went out and saw two local musical acts, the Gora Gora Orkestar and The Widow’s Bane. Both groups are completely fucking awesome and comprised of incredibly talented musicians. I was going to save this write-up until I’d finished the chapter I’m working on, but then I turned on my The Widow’s Bane album and was like, I need to write about these folks right now.

The Gora Gora Orkestar was the sort of opening act you wouldn’t mind being the main event. Holy shit. They had maybe ten or eleven people onstage, playing everything from an accordion (one of my all time favorites) to an antique flugelhorn. There was also an alto horn (!) and a euphonium (!!), as well as instruments no less pleasing for being more common, like a deliciously-noodly clarinet and an alto sax. Also a tuba. Yes! A visit to their MySpace, where you can hear them play, would be a waste of no one’s time. I think my favorite one up there is “Mundo Cocek,” which, I must say, for all it being a rad recording, is not a patch on how wonderful the Gora Gora were live. These folks are the jam. They reminded me quite a bit of my all-time-favorite band, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, who I saw in Denver last October. Woo! I am so totally stoked these folks are local, I plan on attending more shows in the future because if there’s one thing I love, it’s eclectic Balkan music. The super-neat thing about the Gora Gora is that their original compositions were very bit as good as the standards, so I can’t wait to see what all they do in the future.

Seeing the Gora Gora would’ve made my night by itself, but seeing The Widow’s Bane right elevated the experience from incredible to transcendental. These guys. I guess what I should warn people about right up front is that these dudes are pretty dangerous–they are, by their own admission, the Devil’s house band, all carnivorous zombies out to extract revenge upon the wives that murdered them and anyone else that gets in their way. So be careful. The violinist in particular, I’m told–a fellow by the name of Rictus Corpum–made a deal with the Dark Lord that turned his blushing bride into the violin he plays, “so he could control her whining, instead of the other way around.” Yeah. Again, eclectic instruments are always a good decision, and The Widow’s Bane had the aforementioned violin, an upright bass, an amplified acoustic guitar, an accordion (!), a glockenspiel (!!), and the drummer also played banjo. WHAT. Yes!

Their music is up for a listen on Google/lala and on their MySpace. Number one favorite of mine would be “Burns” which made me all misty-eyed when they played it last night. The MySpace has the advantage of containing tracks from their CD and two live recordings–one a video of them covering “Sixteen Tons” which they did last night, and also “The Wedding Song” which I hope is on their forthcoming album which I will buy the moment I hear it’s out. Geez. Joking aside, I adore how complete their stage personas are–the lead singer in particular takes his business of being a zombie-pirate-guitar-player really seriously, and nothing is more awesome than watching people who are into performing (and genuinely good at it) perform. The best thing about The Widow’s Bane is that I would go and see them do their stuff even if they weren’t spectacular musicians, because they have fantastic stage presence. Fortunately, however, they are a spectacle for the eyes, the ears, and the mind. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. What else can I say? Just, I suppose, that it makes me happy to know that since by every possible standard I’m up for damnation upon my death. . . and at least now I’m assured the music in Hell will be really fucking good.