[live review] The David Wax Museum @ Oberon

The Mexicano-Americana folk band the David Wax Museum’s CD-release party for their new Everything Is Saved at Oberon Thursday night was a triumph in every way: musically, theatrically, even socially and politically -- from the fair-trade chocolate and coffee being given away in the lobby to the simulated village street festival the band conjured inside, replete with trapeze aerialist to complete the carnival atmosphere.

The Wax Museum is technically a duo -- the band’s namesake writing songs, playing various Mexican guitars, and singing, Suz Slezak singing and playing fiddle and donkey jawbone. But at Oberon, they brought together a 12-piece band including everyone from the new album and then some. So at any one time you could hear and see on stage multiple guitarists (acoustic and electric), acoustic bassist, upright piano, two accordions, trumpet, sax, trombone, and sousaphone in various combinations.

The band pulled all of this off with optimal theatrical flair, making use of the surrounding balconies, the brass group making a surprise appearance halfway through the first number, “That’s Not True,” playing as they descended from a balcony and walked through the middle of the crowd. Perhaps the theatrical high point was a 360-degree musical experience halfway through the 90-minute set that began with a street-brass band number on one balcony, overlapped to vocals, guitars, and fiddle on another, moved down to the floor for a bowed bass solo and a cappella vocal, and concluded with the foot-stomping 6/8 original gospel number “Let Me Rest.”

And, oh yeah, there was that aerialist, who performed on a trapeze as she was serenaded from the balcony by accordions and tambourine. You could call a folk-music show with a trapeze artist over-the-top, but in this case it was just about perfect.

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