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Pleaseeasaur :: Dork Rock's Finest Hour!


Dork rock's finest hour Published on 05/05/05 BY MICHAEL LOVETT Special to The Post and Courier Resist the temptation to play with dying cobras on the side of the road, advises John Peter Hasson on the aptly titled "Warning: These Cobras Are Totally Cool" from Pleaseeasaur's 2003 release, "The Yellow Pages." "It takes a couple of days for a snake to die," he sings, "so just keep it in mind when you're driving by/ If you remember that the cobras are cool/ Then you won't be so inclined and you'll be keeping your cool. While certainly not the weirdest band to play The Village Tavern in recent months a September visit from anthropomorphic-obsessed quintet The Billy Nayer Show comes to mind first Pleaseeasaur is most definitely weird. In fact, everything about the Seattle, Wash.-based one-man band seems to center around weirdness. First off, the name "Pleaseeasaur" (pronounced please-ee-oh-sore) is a combination of "plesiosaur," the scientific name for an aquatic dinosaur, and some vowels intended to connote "pleasure." Fun with dinosaurs. What self-respecting music fan doesn't enjoy fun with dinosaurs? A Pleaseeasaur show is as much about the viewing experience as it is about the music. At most performances, Hasson wears a custom-made Yeti costume. Other times, he dons a silver space man suit or a police uniform. For the song, "Beef Flavored Island," Hasson dresses up like a baby strapped to a woman's back. Occasionally Hasson plays a few bars on a plastic saxophone, but for the better part of the set, he sings along to prerecorded electronic music of his own making. The absence of instruments onstage allows plenty of space for assistant Thomas Hurley III to visually stimulate the crowd with his equally out-there performance art, projected images, lighting extravaganzas and imaginative set designs. In the biography he provided, Hasson describes his composition style as "electronically generated music that samples in equal amounts surreal lunacy and pop orthodoxy, a sonic-heterogeneity that is mundane only in contrast with the Saur himself." A more direct description might read: Over a musical background that sounds as if it was programmed on a Casio keyboard, a middle-aged man speaks in stylized gibberish. Lyrically, Hasson takes on the campiest pop subjects he can find: cobras, canine feces, the Periodic Table of the Elements and ethnic foods. Like all good humor, however, Pleaseesaur's comic strangeness contains more serious implications: consumer society wants your soul, don't give it to them. Throughout "The Yellow Pages," Hasson sings and speaks in an ironic style that affects the hokey personality of an early morning infomercial host. "You've Got The Tough" mocks motivational rock songs like Survivor's "Eye of The Tiger." During the song's instrumental break, Hasson plugs a fictional vision enhancement formula, saying, "Now you can get eagle eyes forever." Hasson presents a valid argument for breaking routine and indulging in some good old fashioned lunacy with following lyrical snippet from "The Dream Barge," a song that mirrors the chord progression of Mettalica's "Enter Sandman" with cartoonish synthesizer patches: "When you're not feeling like a party, and you'd like to be on a barge/ Put down that Michelob, and turn off 'Charles in Charge.' " While there's no denying the underlying dorkiness of Pleaseeasaur Hasson would surely welcome the accusation some listeners may find the act's overt absurdity a welcome break from the mundane themes of love and angst that clog the radio airwaves. So if you're not feeling like the same old whiney rock band, get down with your dorky self and join Pleaseeasaur at The Village Tavern Monday night. IF YOU GO WHO: Pleaseeasaur, w/ Neil Hamburger WHERE: The Village Tavern, 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mount Pleasant WHEN: Monday, 10 p.m. COST: $8