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With Mama on Valentine's Day

2008-02-15 16:55
Being Valentine’s Day and all, the lead singer was dressed in a rose red shirt, the lighting was set to match, and all the single people in the room were pretending not to notice the lust-struck pair on the dance floor doing to each other what Carmen Electra does to a pole.

They would much rather ogle the ephemeral being of Sanni Fox and her Janis Joplin-meets-Tracy Chapman pipes. Or the drummer in the corner, Ishai Aloni, as he struck his drums with more glee than the drunk dancing with his fly down.

But as you change your position in the room, so does the mood and your impression of the band, Mama Know Nothing, on stage. I started the night seated in the corner, on a couch next to a squad of women-groping, muscle top-wearing females. I watched the band through the propellers of the fan next to me. Instead of being an irritation, it made me view the band through Cinema Nouveau eyes. And indeed original and offbeat they are.

Compelled to get up and dance, I crossed the floor to a position right in front of Sanni. Her wide-eyed, blank-faced stare, as if someone had just slapped her into tomorrow, met mine and it was like sharing a room with Amy Whinehouse for a second.

I couldn’t help but hunch up my shoulders and snake them in time to the tune - nor could the guy next to me help his urge to head bang, or the midget on my other side help her desire to start a mosh pit. Strange for the audience of the more folky, jazz rhythms of Mama Know Nothing, but when the music moves you, you follow.

With little anecdotes about Cuckoo birds and other gems, the band fits around one’s wrist like a charm bracelet. Each member offering something different, they lock you into their narcotic trance as you shift focus from guitar to drums to violin. You forget totally that you are in fact alone on this day of love, and hope that unlike the one-nighter you’ll take home that evening, Mama Know Nothing will at least be around for a few more shows.

With Ishai leaving for Israel, the band is seeking a new drummer. So in the name of all things red and heart-shaped, help ‘em out and keep them around for longer than the morning after. At least until they make the bed.

- Tamlin Wightman

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