Kenny Young and the Eggplants




CARVING their singular niche somewhere between whimsy, psychedelia and classic lo-fi pop, this endearingly oddball Brooklyn trio first played the Fringe in the early 1990s, back at the old Acoustic Music Centre on Chambers Street. The Eggplants' withdrawal from the August festival fray some years back mean these return shows by singer/guitarist Young, bassist Gil Shuster and percussionist Eddie Logue thus have something of a homecoming flavour.

There was a nearly full house in attendance on opening night, and several fans had submitted requests long in advance.

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For those new to the experience, though, the very first number provided a pretty good introduction. Entitled Eggplantis, it describes the band's spiritual home as a lost undersea city inhabited by animated vegetables, a story narrated via as many terrible puns as possible. The second proceeds from the viewpoint of "five innocent T-shirts", trapped in a broken washing machine, while the next begins with the line "Curtis Mayfield's on the moon".

A subsequent enquiry as to whether we're "ready for some arena rock" leads into a song about a six-foot squirrel (named Earl, because it nearly rhymes, in a Brooklyn accent), complete with random musical allusions to the Rolling Stones. Also on an animal theme, the brilliant Lushy the Grouse, featuring a children's cartoon character with a drinking problem, surely has its origins in a certain famous whisky advert.

If such glimpses into the Eggplants' world are leaving you cold, they're probably not a taste you're likely to acquire.

Those tickled by the humour, however, may be further tempted by the threesome's impressively taut though understated musicianship, deftly weaving in strands of blues, soul, funk and folk, and setting Young's gently catchy melodies against sharp, punchy rhythm work.

Until 26 August. Today 8pm

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