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tuscadero
03-16-2009, 04:17 AM
Dent May and His Magnificient opened for A.C. Newman at the Paradise in Boston Friday night.

It was a short set, I'm thinking maybe 6 songs. I'm not really familiar with Dent, other than a couple of recent articles touting him as part of the new trendy Ukulele Vanguard, but I was game to check him out.

Dent was playing what looked like a concert Pono. He is a good ukulele player, in that he can play the ukulele well, but he's just strumming along with the band. The ukulele is prominient in the name of the band but it's not that important to their overall sound. It does seem to be part of the novelty of the act.

Dent plays up the geek angle consciously and ironically in how he dresses and speaks to the audience, he looks like a young Bill Gates and sounds a lot like Stephen Merritt (from Magnetic Fields). The ukulele feels like part of that conceit. That's not to say that songs aren't good.

The band had a full, pop sound, evoking both River Cuomo and Brian Wilson in equal measures. The drummer was especially fun to listen to and watch. At one point one of the members of A.C. Newman's troop of sexy nerds joined Dent & friends with his trumpet. I must say, there should be more arrangements for trumpet and ukulele, they complement each other strangely well.

At the end of his set, Dent climbed up onto the bass drum and jumped off, rock star style. From where I stood, in the balcony, with a great view down onto the stage it looked like he almost lost his footing and fell. With all the talented musicians in the world, I understand the need for a gimmick to get some attention and press. But I hope now that some doors have been opened for Dent May and his Magnificient Ukulele they will start to play down the goofy character and focus more on the great tunes.

UKISOCIETY
03-16-2009, 05:21 AM
That's a thoughtful post. Thanks for the review. I have a similar view of Dent May and his shtick. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my viewpoint!