Saturday night was a Wonder-filled evening of music aboard the Wonder Cruise 3.0 on the Miss Buffalo II with Buffalo’s favorite psychedelic tavern rock band, Wonder Crayon. The Wonder-fans came from far and wide and packed the boat to take in some really great jams, amazing covers, as well as some wacky ones too. As we pushed off, our host for the night Robert P. Mangold advised the rowdy Wonder-fans that it would be a mistake to be caught indulging in any medicinal leafy substances by the boats crew, and would result in an abrupt end to the music and a swift ass-kicking by said host. After that, Mark Reginald WonderGhost introduced the band, and off they went into a fitting first set starter, Fiesta.
The party was in full gear as the Crayon jammed on original tunes like their hit single “Hot Dog Finger,” “Heller High Water” and great covers of Steely Dan’s “Peg,” Ween’s “Bananas and Blow,” and a dead-on cover of Beck’s “Debra,” with Mangold nailing the falsetto. The second set started out with bassist Boris Silver laying out the beginning bass-lines to Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage,” sending the boat into a frenzy. The band continued through crowd pleasing covers like “White Lines,” and the obligatory “Meatstick,” the Phish favorite, with Mangold making his way through the Wonder-fans and giving up close and personal dance lessons. Later on in the set we got to hear Crayon original and upcoming album namesake “Joe Stover,” as well another spot-on Ween cover, “Transdermal Celebration,” segueing a ripping “Frankenstien” with Atomic Tangerine tearing through solos with ease.
Lending credence to the fact that, as wacky as this band can be at times, they are an incredibly talented group of musicians. The rhythm section of Johnny Indigo on drums and Silver on bass are the heartbeat of this band, and both guitarists are phenomenal. The fitting final song of the Cruise was the Love Boat theme, and the crowd drunkenly sang along as the boat pulled back in, to dock. Another epic, successful Wonder Cruise in the books! An hour or so later we were at Pearl Street Brewery for the free after-party set. They opened the final set of the night up with a raging cover of “Gay Bar” by Electric Six, abruptly sending a bunch of older non Wonder-fans fleeing for their lives, hands over their ears, with many enjoying the hilarity of that. A few songs later they treated us to an honestly amazing cover of The Band’s “Don’t Do It,” and a killer B.O.C. cover of “Godzilla” again showing, this band is no joke, as funny as they tend to be at times.
Now something I haven’t seen before happened, Mangold handed out the “Wonder-Box” and let the crowd write out, not only their choice of a cover, but the style in which it would be played. The band would then randomly pick 3, and choose one to play. They chose ELO’s “Evil Woman” in none other than Spice Girls style, and as horrid as the band may think it sounded, they surprisingly pulled it off with half the band not knowing a lick of it from the start. Another Ween cover and crowd favorite, “Booze Me Up and Get Me High” was played, and I don’t think the crowd needed any help doing either of those things, as there were plenty of red eyes in the house already.
A few last covers to finish out a great night of music included “Rapper’s Delight” with some augmented lyrics, fitting for this night, and a show closing “Turning Japanese,” with a Love Boat reprise. The crowd screamed “One More” but Mangold just couldn’t oblige, bringing to an end a very long night of dancing and great performances. I highly suggest that if you have not experienced a Wonder Crayon show, it’s a Must-See! We can’t wait for next year’s Wonder Cruise 4.0, Hope to see you there!!