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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Stormy Wall Street Outing for Eek-A-Mouse

January 19, 1988|DON SNOWDEN

There was more chaos on Wall Street on Sunday night--the Wall Street nightclub in the Wilshire District, that is, where Jamaican singer Eek-A-Mouse headlined a stormy show marked by a fistfight on the dance floor that disrupted the conclusion of the 90-minute set, followed by a long feedback barrage from the sound system. But Eek-A-Mouse regenerated the momentum after the sound and emotional balance were restored, and he later finished his encore surrounded by fans dancing on the stage.

The lanky vocalist is an unlikely candidate to have a show marred by violence. His brand of reggae aspires to nothing more than a good time, and he presents himself as a comic spectacle--the first glimpse the crowd had was of bare feet and calves as the 6-foot-6-inch singer descended a stairway at the rear of the stage. He was clad in an Arabian Nights get-up.

Eek-A-Mouse's musical trademark is a rapid-fire vocal delivery--he sounds something like a low-key Wolfman Jack--and a line of nonsense lyrics delivered in a patois akin to a gimmicky Jamaican version of scat singing. As the Mouse puts it in his signature song and inevitable encore "Wa-Do-Dem": "Bong diddly bong bong ding ding."

It's an enjoyable shtick in small doses, and Eek-A-Mouse did it well Sunday, gliding from side to side making funny faces and slapping hands with the crowd pressed against the low stage. A quintet of local musicians backed him capably (particularly on the slower, rub-a-dub style material near the end of the set), but Eek-A-Mouse remains a one-liner who will never rise above cartoon reggae.

His set was plagued by sound problems, but they were nothing compared to those endured by local openers Zef & the Ravers. The opening 15 minutes sported the gnarliest feedback buzz in recent memory, and when that died down the vocals sounded as they were coming over a bad long-distance phone connection.

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