Frank Zappa Live Event

It’s hard to know what Frank Zappa would think of a tribute act. In one sense, his well established ego would probably find it flattering, yet his dedication to musical perfection would mean he’d be critical of those trying to emulate him. The intricacy and sheer difficulty of Zappa’s songs mean only the most accomplished musicians can play them, and the Frank Zappa Live Event are giving it their honest best.

Despite being recognised as one of the most influential and talented musicians of all time, Frank Zappa’s music remains relatively unknown. His far-reaching influences and styles, coupled with a sense of the outrageous, have resulted in music that has always been difficult to pigeonhole. While some tracks can be hummed along to, others are almost too obscure to bear, with his lyrics hovering somewhere between the offensive and the insane. What characterises Zappa’s music – and his diverse and prolific career that spanned multiple decades – is an unmistakable originality.

Before his untimely death at the age of 53, Zappa released more that 60 records. Not content with simply playing on the records, he most often produced them as well, having direct influence over all areas of production. With styles including rock, jazz, classical composition and almost anything considered ‘avant-garde’, Zappa’s early releases were applauded for their originality and risk taking. Throughout his career he continued to push the boundaries, singing about a range of anti-establishment themes that took aim at organised religion, education, politics, and any other aspect of society he felt like attacking. He remains one of the most revered musicians of all time, having been inducted into every major hall of fame there is.

The Frank Zappa Live Event came to life in 1996 thanks to three Danish friends: Oren Nørup, Thomas Ulstrup and Lars Studs. All accomplished soloists in their own right, they came together to play Zappa’s songs as much for the challenge as anything else. When it became clear they could not only play Zappa’s complex songs, but also reinterpret them, the trio began to recruit other musicians, building up a band dedicated to recreating Zappa’s universe.

As well as playing Zappa’s relatively few well-known songs, the group attempts to link Zappa’s music into some kind of coherent arrangement. By giving their setlist a sense of connectedness, they attempt to make sense of what Zappa was essentially about, paying tribute to the man, while pushing his messages further. The act focuses on humour as well as social commentary – two essential aspects of Zappa’s career.

Now boasting a nine-piece band drawn from Denmark and Sweden, the Frank Zappa Live Event have become something of an underground sensation. Not content with simply playing Zappa’s songs, the band focuses on visuals as well, providing a more rounded sensory experience that Zappa would no doubt approve of. The accomplished musicians in the band are not afraid to improvise, adding their own brand of chaos to that of Zappa’s. This is a must-see for any Zappa fan.

Frank Zappa Live Event
Amager Bio
Friday 21:00; 150 kr

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