Material: In real life, Lori and Lisa Brigantino (the latter a founding member of Led Zeppelin tribute band Lez Zeppelin) are sisters. On stage, they’re Vickie and Nickie, two middle-aged siblings from Minnesota wearing flower-print dresses and excessive makeup. With thick accents and hammy presentation, they’re half concert, half comedy performance art. You’ll either get the joke immediately and think it’s entirely hysterical (as I did) or miss the humor and never jibe with their softly shticky satire.
Musicianship: Most notable is the duo’s multi-instrumental proficiency; switching up things between songs really helps stave off audience boredom. Yet this instrumental diversity also means they’re masters of none. And while they’re talented players, their musical abilities aren’t their main feature. Instead, it’s mostly about the yuks. They’re also about familiarity, cover songs being their main offering. Abba’s “Dancing Queen,” U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and CCR’s “Proud Mary” are all featured. Originals, like their introductory autobiographical number and its follow-up, “Quarantine Blues,” generate the most chuckles.
Performance: Billed as Vickie & Nickie’s Hunker Down Hootenanny, this was the sisters’ inaugural livestream. Despite some technical issues, their audience climbed as high as 130 viewers. Their best gag came from a tape measure, with which they literally proved their strict adherence to social distancing standards. They later entertained questions from viewers, answering burning questions about favorite hot dishes (casseroles) and leisure activities (bird watching). This was capped via a trivia-based t-shirt giveaway.
Summary: Anybody seeking a smile would do well by tuning in to this twisted pair. What they have is both unique and brimming with good-natured playfulness. Besides more original songs, they need to amp up the comedic fodder. While it’s great that they’re able to improvise comfortably and play the characters so naturally, we need even more laughs. Prepared bits would help do this, and another serving of visual gags would be welcomed. Finally, they must maintain that overdone accent throughout, lest they allow their wacky pretense to falter.
Players: Vickie, vocals, saxophone, ukulele, accordion, harmonica, percussion; Nickie, vocals, guitar, accordion, banjo