Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

Location: R.A. Fountain

from the July 14, 2009 FAD

The Manhattan-based Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players headline a special July 16 show and concert at Fountain General Store.

The Trachtenburgs have been performing their quirky, anti-folk shows edged with political humor throughout the U.S. and Europe for eight years.

Jason Trachtenburg describes his family band in a 2006 San Francisco Chronicle profile: “We’re an indie, vaudeville, conceptual art, pop-rock, family slide-show band. We deal in found slide collections and turn the lives of anonymous dead strangers into pop rock musical exposes of lives they’ve never led. We reinterpret their lives and business meetings through the miracle of pop music.”

Dad Jason plays guitar, keyboards, and sings; 16-year-old daughter Rachel plays drums and sings; and Tina sits close-by on a couch, from where she projects vintage slides the family has collected from junk shops and estate sales onto a large screen behind her husband and daughter as they perform.

One of the Trachtenburg’s most critically acclaimed performances is of a 6-song cycle that chronicles a fictionalized meeting at McDonald’s corporate headquarters.

“They’re pretty hard-core vegetarians, so you can imagine that their take on Mickey D’s wouldn’t be one Ronald would appreciate,” said Alex Albright, R.A. Fountain proprietor. “They’re very political, very satirical–definitely not a family bluegrass band. But they have a lot of fun with what they’re doing, which is evident in all of their many You.Tube videos.”

Opening for the Trachtenburgs is Lady Blanche, a Colorado native who recently abandoned her singer-songwriter life as Tracy Shapiro. Self-proclaimed founder of the Elevator Riot Gal movement, Lady Blanche performs a “melange of punk-twanged Tenacious D-esque compositions, not so ladylike confessionals, and stream of consciousness rambles.”

Lady Blanche has quickly become popular on the Manhattan and Brooklyn club circuit since re-locating from Colorado in February 2009. She performs regularly at the Sidewalk Cafe, the Delancey, Goodbye Blue Monday, and Public Assembly.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and Lady Blanche play Fountain as part of a Southern tour that also includes the Pour House in Raleigh, Local 506 in Chapel Hill, the Grey Eagle in Asheville; the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia; and the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, West Virginia.

Added Albright: “This is a big act for a little place like ours. Jason was interested in seeing our venue, and I promised to give them some boxes of slides I’ve accumulated. They’ll get a bunch of onions, too.

“I think we’ll be okay with the Trachtenburgs, so long as folks aren’t expecting a bluegrass family band, but I’m not sure Fountain’s ready for Lady Blanche.”

Showtime on Thursday, July 16, is 7:30. General admission is $8; reserved seats, $10. All patrons will receive a free Mattamuskeet sweet onion [see accompanying story below].

• • •

Free Mattamuskeet Sweet Onions to All Patrons at Thursday Show in Fountain

[Fountain, NC] Mattamuskeet sweet onions have finally been harvested, and Fountain General Store is giving them away–one per customer–at Thursday’s concert with the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

The Manhattan-based Trachtenburgs–mom, dad, and daughter–are vegetarians who’ve never tasted this East Carolina specialty, which will also be on sale for 50 cents a pound. “We’ve played for peanuts,” Jason Trachtenburg said, “but this is our first time playing for onions.”

Billed as an indie, vaudeville, conceptual art, pop-rock, family slide-show band, the Trachtenburgs perform original songs based upon slides they’ve scavanged from yard sales and thrift shops. They are touring the South with Lady Blanche, who will open the show.

Tags: Concert, eclectic, original