“Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool.”—The Residents
I’ve been listening to The Residents a lot recently, so expect some Residents-related posts here in the coming days/weeks. You have been warned.
To kick things off right, here’s a fantastic, little-known record of their 1982-83 “Mole Show” tour, the live unveiling of The Residents on the world concert stage. “The Mole Show” was a progrock opera that began with their Mark of the Mole album in 1981, but was never really finished, unless the band was just pulling our legs.
Like The Gun Club material I posted earlier this week, this footage comes from the Spanish TV show La Edad de Oro and was taped in Madrid and broadcast originally on Jul 21, 1983.
Here’s the gist of what is going on here, via The Residents.com
The Story So Far: The Mohelmot people live underground in the desert in gigantic ant-like colonies. They are primitive and superstitious. Music has a ritualistic purpose that supports their love of darkness and their belief in work. A quirky storm causes water to fill their holes and forces them to cross the desert to seek another land. On the coast they meet the jolly Chubs who seem eager to welcome the exotic “Moles.” Soon it is apparent that the welcome has more to do with cheap labor than true acceptance. The Chub culture as reflected through their music is superficial and pleasure oriented. Tension eventually mounts [due to a scientist who invents a machine that makes the Mole’s work unnecessary—RM] and a form of war breaks out between the two groups. As usual, war solves nothing. Time passes. The Mohelmot are forbidden to use their language due to deeply paranoid Chub fears. Racial intermarriage has created a new lifeform referred to as a “Cross.” A pop group of Cross youth named “The Big Bubble” creates a sensation by singing in the forbidden Mohelmot tongue. The singer is jailed and begins to see himself as the new Messiah of traditional “Zinkenites.” The Zinkenite wished to form a new Mohelmot nation. Truth be known, the singer is merely a naïve puppet of an aggressive Cross named Kula Bocca. In fact, Bocca arranged the arrest just to stir up trouble. The story abruptly ends, but there is plenty of basis for a dynamic conclusion, if The Residents ever get around to it.
The audio/visual quality here is top notch, but the camerawork is pedestrian at best. All of the cameramen are holding wide shots. It cuts from one wide to another slightly more or less wide shot, throughout.