Years ago, when the news of Okilly Dokilly first started popping up on literally every single music news network, I reached out and emailed the band about setting up an interview. The email I received back was as follows:
"Hi Jared, Thanks so much for reaching out to us! We'd be open to an interview. E-mails work best, but we can do something on skype or by phone if you prefer to hear the live doodlies and diddlies."
That email was enough to make any fan of The Simpsons, whether die-hard or casual, filled with glee. It makes me happy that a band like Okilly Dokilly exists. It shows that there are bands that are willing to just go out and have fun, not take themselves too seriously, and go into a performance with the goal of truly entertaining the audience, not showing off how much "shredding" they can do (although let's face it: Ned can shred).
If you're not familiar, it is a band comprised of five gentlemen from Arizona performing what is perhaps the most elaborate and delightfully brutal tribute to The Simpsons' very own straight-laced, church-loving family man Ned Flanders. They dress as Flanders in the trademark green sweater with pink button down and beige khakis. They all have mustaches. The lead vocalist, only identified as "Head Ned", speaks like Flanders, making sure to include all of "the live doodlies and diddlies." All of their songs, whether from their debut album, Howdily Doodily, or their upcoming sophomore album Howdily Twodilly (set to be released on March 29th), are inspired by Flanders' quotes from throughout the show's thirty seasons on the air. Everything that goes through your mind when you think about this band, reflecting on what they could sound or look like live, is exactly what you think it is, and it's so much fun to watch.
The band made a stop at The Ritz in San Jose this past Monday, February 11th, on their North American "Re-Neducation" tour. Opening the show was the tour's sole opening act, Playboy Manbaby. Hailing from Phoenix, AZ, the sextet had quite the task of warming up a crowd for an hour straight. I can't really place a genre on a band like Playboy Manbaby. There are so many various influences that come into play when watching a band like this, ranging from punk rock, post-alternative, and all the way to the downright "weird".
But by the end of that hour, they managed to do what most opening acts have a hard time perfecting, which is engaging a full audience. Vocalist Robbie Pfeffer and guitarist Chris Hudson left the confines of the stage and made themselves at home on the GA floor of the venue, where they pulled together the entire crowd and got everyone invested in a "town-hall" style meeting of the "new government" they had established in San Jose. Everyone really got a kick out of it, and it's always impressive to watch an opener get the crowd that's awkwardly huddled at the back towards the bar move towards the front before the show has really even kicked into high gear. While it definitely took the full hour for Playboy Manbaby's set to ramp up, the set's conclusion paid off handsomely.
Less than an hour later, Okilly Dokilly took the stage, welcoming everyone with a "Howdilly Ho, Neighbors!" after their first song filled with chugging breakdowns and guttural vocal lines. Songs with the titles "They Warned Me", "Flanderdoodles", "You're A Jerk", and "I Can't, It's A Geo" can only give you an idea of the fun that ensued from watching a set like this. You would almost eagerly await the ending of a song just to hear them deliver Flanders-esque dialogue in a fashion that was both sincere and hilarious. It was clear to see that the crowd in San Jose that evening walked away more than satisfied with the "nedal" performance they had received.
Whether you're a massive fan of The Simpsons, or you're just looking for something a bit different than a traditional heavy metal show, Okilly Dokilly proved above and beyond that you'll have a great time watching them. Remember to break out the white wine spritzers, neighbor.