I knew going in that Tuesday's show was going to be one of a kind, but it didn't really hit me until I reached the Larimer Lounge that night. As soon as I entered the doors, I was greeted with a very unusual sight: a large steel pipe apparatus that looked like a home improvement project gone wrong or an incorrectly assembled exercise machine. From where I stood, I couldn't fathom how that contraption could possibly be used as an instrument, but since there was a little time before That 1 Guy would come out to perform, I got as close to the stage as I could to see if I could figure out how that thing worked.

As I got closer, I started to notice more details that revealed this crazy device's musical nature. This device, also known as the Magic Pipe, had a few prominent features; the nature of this beast started from the ground up; everything seemingly coming out of the rectangular diamond cut metal stand the Magic Pipe rested on. The stand had three wired metal discs that looked like upside-down dog bowls connected to it. A large metal pipe section jutted out from one corner like a portable fireman's pole. The larger section was connected to hinged pipes, looping around to a shorter pipe section. Each section of pipe had a single length of string attached, hinting that the pipes were acting like the neck of a guitar. Instead of frets, there were a few scattered hand drawn permanent marker lines to keep track of the different notes. There was another pipe section that jutted out from the ground, this one with a small drum head attached to its end.

That 1 Guy

Although I had time to study the machine, I still really couldn't tell how it would come to musical life. But then the theme of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood broke the silence of the venue, and from the green room emerged That 1 Guy dressed in all black, his scraggly long dark hair jutting from beneath his pair of stacked black padre hats. He removed his shoes to but on dark boots with a silver sheen, introduced himself by tipping one of his hats, and proceeded to reveal the nature of his musical machine creation.

That 1 Guy

The "Baba O'Riley" like delayed synth loop of "Modern Man" started to play as he positioned his boots over the metal discs arranged on the ground. He grasped the large pipe section like he would an upright bass and began to pluck its string, creating a wicked funky slap bass sound with each finger motion. If that wasn't amazing enough, he began stomping his feet on the discs beneath him to create a thumping drum beat. Then, he'd pull a drumstick from his pocket and beat on the pipe to create more percussive sounds. With the assistance of a looper, he'd be able to record sections he played live and layer in the recorded sounds over more live play. He'd switch from plucking or using a bow on the string to create a funky bass lead, while hitting sections of pipe or the drum head to create wicked rhythms - all while stomping other beats wildly.

That 1 Guy

I didn't notice when I first was trying to figure out the Magic Pipe, but there were buttons placed at various locations along the Magic Pipe that were responsible for different functions, most notably to play recorded samples that sounded liked they were ripped from a Looney Tunes cartoon. It wasn't enough for That 1 Guy to just be a one man band, he went to great lengths to show that he was a complete entertainment package. He would make hand motions and gestures that accentuated the cartoon-like sounds he would trigger. He even brought out hand puppets, most notably for the funky song "Packs a Wallop". With that song, he made duck-duck-goose cooler than ever.

That 1 Guy and the Magic Saw

That 1 Guy performed like he was having the time of his life, and his goofy enthusiasm contagiously swept the crowd. Each one of his songs was epic and lengthy, many of the live songs being two to three times longer than what you would find on record, but time flies when you are having fun, so no song ever felt drawn out. He continued to play pieces from his various albums, mostly from Packs a Wallop! and The Moon Is Disgusting, but there were also selections from Songs in the Key of Beotch. He left no important subject matter untouched, performing songs like "Mustaches" and "Buttmachine" to the delight of the crowd.

That 1 Guy with the Magic Boot

As impressive as his Magic Pipe prowess was, he also displayed incredible sleight of hand, making cards appear and disappear, suddenly having more facial hair, and magically creating balls of light glow in his hand. But he showed even more impressive musical ability with a couple more unexpected instruments. At one point, he took out a long saw blade and and bow and proceeded to wow the crowd with a performance of "Rainbow" (Somewhere Over The Rainbow) as he played the Magic Saw. At another point, he took out a cowboy boot and plugged it in like an electric instrument, creating the crazy percussive sounds of the song "Dig" from his Magic Boot.

That 1 Guy and his crazy creations

That 1 Guy showed a phenomenal range of musical skill, showmanship, energy, and creativity throughout the course of his set. Including the extra songs he played for his encore, his performance lasted nearly two incredibly fun-filled hours. Surely, his music is lighthearted in nature, but if you accept that and want to lose yourself in a musical experience unlike any other, it can be wicked fun. If you want to see an outside-of-the-box musical performance, That 1 Guy is someone you need to see; if not for his sheer instrumental skill then at least for his unparalleled range of imagination.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.

Leave a Reply