Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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Sound Stage

A bunch of dicks


Trent Derby performing with Dickweed at last week’s Artquake event.

Trent Derby performing with Dickweed at last week’s Artquake event.

When does musical parody gain legitimacy? Spinal Tap was created for a comedy sketch, and I don’t think Michael McKean, Christopher Guest or Harry Shearer would classify themselves as a real band, and yet they’ve played Wembley Arena and released three actual, real-life albums, two of which have cracked the Billboard 100.

If people enjoy the music, does it matter the intent with which it was created? Patrick Tape Fleming poses that question every time he takes the stage. Sometimes the answer is obvious: Poison Control Center is a legit rock outfit. Other times, the debate’s hazier: I still maintain that Gloom Balloon is a vanity project gone wrong. So when The Des Moines Social Club announced that its “Artquake” would feature Fleming’s new side project Dickweed, results were uncertain.

Dickweed’s members all perform under aliases sharing the Dick surname, they spoke in exaggerated southern accents and were decked out — with varying degrees of success — in “cowboy” garb. Tongues were firmly in cheeks.

And yet Dickweed’s music was the surprise highlight of a night that also included performances from Tires, Satellite State and Buffalo, N.Y., trio Lemuria. Clearly the band has talent — Eric Moffitt and Trent Derby both lend their sounds to Wolves in the Attick, and Fleming will play with anyone if he’s given enough notice — but the group still managed to impress the gathered crowd with the cohesion and polish in its performance, on the heels of just three confirmed practices beforehand.


Dickweed is obviously a joke that we all get to be let in on, but it’s a joke with legs. I have no idea how much time and attention Dickweed’s composite members will devote to the effort, but if last week’s performance is any indication, it’s good enough to survive on talent alone. CV

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