Mothers of Invention, Chicago, Youngbloods

By Pine

Variety, 18 June 1969

Mothers of Invention
(Fillmore East, N.Y.)

The Mothers of Invention pulled a musical about-face during the four-show concert weekend (13,14) at the Fillmore East, N.Y. The event, which drew 8,410 people for a $37,988 gross, also marked the Youngbloods' overdue return to Gotham after a two-year Frisco hiatus, and a second visit by brassy Chicago.

The Mothers, arranged and conducted by leader-guitarist Frank Zappa, performed an extended bassoon piece on Friday (13). The
avant-garde composition was too freely structured to hold the audience's interests, and an annoyed Frank Zappa prematurely halted the set. On Saturday, the octet spent the bulk of its set on hardrock-blues instrumental improvisation, which is the Fillmore's normal bill of fare. Since the Mothers' topflight musicianship was now being applied to crawd-pleasing rhythms, the audience soon became actively involved in the set. The turnabout simultaneously came all as Zappa's sarcastic scorn of the crowd's inability to understand his music, and as a wise move toward popularity.

Chicago is a powerful septet that builds creative musical bridges and drives into blaring traffic jams, where the horns sound akin to honking cars. Their high decibel soiree shortly lost potency due to a weak command of dynamics. The group didn't flavor its intensity with a realistic amount of gentle, rejuvenative moments.

When the Youngbloods left New York to live in San Francisco's country outskirts, they were a highly competent and thoroughly
rehearsed quartet. They have returned with a relaxed country air that has given their music a loose and simpler realism. Treating the stage as their living room, the combo (a trio since Jerry Corbitt's departure) spread to infectious warmth and played with integrity. Pine.