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There was no shortage of faithful fans — and even some repeat customers — when Sparks, the legendary masters of pop unconventionalism, finished out a three-night stand at the El Rey Theatre on Tuesday night. The occasion was the public celebration of the September release of “Hippopotamus,” their 23rd album and brothers Russell and Ron Mael, and their ace backing band sampled liberally from it.
Included was not only the title track, but “Life With the Macbeths,” which featured Russell duetting with opera singer Rebecca Sjöwall, who sings on the album track. The set also included Sparks favorites such as “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us,” “Dick Around,” “Hospitality on Parade” and “The Number 1 Song In Heaven.” During the latter, Ron Mael gave his trademark deadpan expression a break to come to the front of the stage for a hilarious dance break.
Japanese experimental duo Les Sewing Sisters opened. Lun*na Menoh and Saori Mitome make music from the sounds made by sewing machines — processed by various devices and computers — that’s about clothing. They wore pin cushions on their heads, fascinator-style. “I’m Sewing” was the second song they performed, and it was especially humorous because the song would appear to end, there would be silence as a woman would move and prepare to start the next song, and then they would start a new verse of “I’m Sewing” instead, which was met with loud laughs from the audience each time.
Photos by Andie Mills