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BWW Review: Dan Finnerty and THE DAN BAND thrill at Joe's Pub

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BWW Review: Dan Finnerty and THE DAN BAND thrill at Joe's PubThere's a reason "The Dan Band" led by Dan Finnerty has become a cult movement just behind the leading roles of the once iconic Frat Pack of the 2000's: he's really funny. A well-documented and hilarious run of gig band appearances at on-screen weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and the like has created this wild phenomenon where Finnerty reigns as stage king. That's what brings the fans in, but within the context of Finnerty's show, he uses every opportunity to recreate the same type of awkward moments (at the audience's "expense") that his on-screen persona is known for. The result? Uncontrollable spouts of laughter and a lot of once-in-a-lifetime moments for those in the audience who are lucky enough to play along well.

There could be one or two particular songs that I could isolate as favorites (like Shoop or Don't Cha or Hold On), but Finnerty's not out there trying to show up Broadway stars by belting high notes. Instead, he has a little bit more attitude. Like an iconic rock band, he irreverntly tossed stage props out of his way after using them only once for comic effect. An example could be the floor routine ribbons, which he played jump rope with, or the blue and yellow hula hoops his back up singers/dancers (Matthew Pollack and Eugene Reed) spun around their necks. Including all the other tricks this trio employed, the choreography of the show was reasonably impressive, and especially among cabaret shows, where singers rarely get the groove going. His "casual, then serious, but playful," attitude reliably set the audience into peals of laughter. When Finnerty performed a cover song, he shook his hips, pelvic thrusted, and mimed obscene gestures, but the real fun only began when he turned his attention to the crowd, isolating certain members of the audience with improvised lyrics to turn his show from pop rock concert with thumping bass lines and top hits into a casual comedy night out getting heckled by your favorite comic.

For one Irish couple (call them Altar Boy and Mrs. Wife), this became the dream moment of their trip to New York. Having used Finnerty's iconic Old School performance version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as the final song of their wedding exactly a year ago, Finnerty gave them both a good roasting in front of an equally playful audience. At one point when commenting on how much he loves multicultural relationships (himself being in one) his improv lyrics called them out, "Irish on Irish doesn't go as well, but you'll find that out in Hell." The couple, of course, appreciated the attention; Altar Boy having both failed Finnerty's altar boy All Saint's Day question, redeemed himself by eating a piece of cake off of a spoon held in Finnerty's mouth. Finnerty later invited them on stage to dance and sing along during "Total Eclipse," which he used as one of his final "fake encores."

Finnerty was truly an ultimate man-of-the-people. He gave audience members opportunities to take photos/videos, and he grabbed phones and sang into cameras. He gave love, and the audience gave it back as he made friends with practically the entire first row. When you go to one of his shows, be ready to be immersed in this one-of-a-kind experience.

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From This Author Chris Struck