100716 Project/Object featuring Ike Willis, Ottawa, ON

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On October 7th, 2016 I had the great pleasure of cycling downtown to Maverick’s Bar to see Ike Willis and Don Preston play with ProjectObject, the longest-running Frank Zappa tribute out there.

Of course this was more than a tribute, including as it did two former Zappa employees: Ike Willis being the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist on many very recognizable Zappa songs and Don Preston being the founding and long-standing keyboardist for Zappa’s band The Mothers Of Invention, and the show was off-the-hook amazing from start to finish. 

It was weird, it was proggy, and it was face-meltingly rocking.  And the playing was jaw-droppingly good from one side of the stage to the other.

Getting a taste like that makes the mind boggle at how good an actual Frank Zappa concert would have been.  It makes me reel to imagine it.

The fact that such a great, high profile show (in my mind at least) went down at Maverick’s – a place I’ve played several times and was a home-away-from-home for the whole nero crowd back in the day – made it even more special to have been there.  It was one of those nights that remind me that every once in a while the best music option on the planet might just be right down the street from home and will only set you back $30 or so.

Incidentally, I know a guy in Miami named Steve who claims to be the one who first introduced Ike Willis to Frank Zappa way back in the way back.  I know it seems far-fetched but I have no reason to disbelieve him.  So: thanks Steve, good job!

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