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Tasty sounds

Bogus Pomp will bring its Zappa zeitgeist to the Palladium.

Published March 25, 2004

The Emit series has always been a little eccentric, but its upcoming concert may be its most unusual.

The St. Petersburg series, which has presented 72 concerts since 1995, has offered a diverse roster of internationally known artists, from the adventurous ROVA Saxophone Quartet to proto-indie-rocker Eugene Chadbourne.

What makes the upcoming entry in the series so intriguing, though, isn't the music itself.

The featured band is Bogus Pomp, the acclaimed ensemble that focuses on the music of Frank Zappa. Bogus Pomp has a large, cultish following, and they've played locally with everyone from the Florida Orchestra to the Persuasions.

For their Emit series show - subtitled Tasty Little Suckers - the Pomp will deliver selections from Burnt Weeny Sandwich, a classic 1969 Mothers of Invention album, plus other jazz and classical works by Zappa.

But that's almost beside the point. This may be the only concert in which the sound system gets more attention than the music and the musicians.

Even the press material sent out by the Emit people devotes just as much ink to the Bose Personal Amplification System as it does to the concert's musical selections.

"We are the first band in the area to use the Bose system," said David Manson, the prime mover of Emit and a member of Bogus Pomp. "It costs over $4,000."

The new Bose system does away with traditional speakers and monitors. Each musician is hooked up to a cylinder, 7 feet high and just a few inches around, that stands vertically on the stage, like a Christmas tree that has lost its leaves and branches. It's full of tiny speakers that radiate sound in a 180-degree arc.

Supposedly, it allows bands to play better because the musicians can hear each other more accurately. And (supposedly again) it's better for the audience because it can deliver a full range of undistorted sound, closer to the acoustic sound of voices and instruments, without the obnoxious volume of many concerts.

"I think the band sounds so much better with this acoustic approach," Manson said. "All of the individual instruments are audible, as well as the intricate writing by Zappa."

Which brings us back to the music. The repertoire for Saturday's concert features some quintessentially Zappa-esque titles, from all phases of his career: Uncle Meat, 20 Small Cigars, Cleetus Awreetus Awrightus, G-Spot Tornado, What's New in Baltimore? and Idiot Bastard Son.

PREVIEW: The Emit Concert with Bogus Pomp is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N in St. Petersburg. Tickets are $12 general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. Call (727) 822-3590.

[Last modified March 24, 2004, 10:18:02]

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