Rock bands and puppets: two peas in a pod, right? Sure, these art forms might seem contradictory on the surface. But on Friday at Opolis, the spectacle of Quintron and Miss Pussycat — half puppet show, half concert — will take this notion and obliterate it.
The New Orleans-based husband and wife bear a unique skill set: Quintron, aka Robert Rolston, is a beat maker, master of the organ and inquisitive inventor; Miss Pussycat, aka Panacea Theriac, is a longtime puppeteer and filmmaker.
According to Theriac, who was born and raised in Antlers, the two aren’t all that dissimilar.
“Puppets are just really good at being in bands,”
she said. “They’re really good at playing guitar. They’re good at killing each other, and they’re good at kissing.”
It wasn’t long ago that she discovered the unique abilities of her puppets, and became so enamored with the concept that she founded the fictional puppet band Flossie and the Unicorns, who, Theriac said, “released three albums and some singles.”
Her current project — the colorful, mind-bending film series Trixie and the Tree Trunks — takes her craft to a riotous new extreme. Their latest adventure, The Mystery in Old Bathbath, will be screened as part of Friday’s show.
Yet it’s the music that takes center stage, and Quintron assumes role of entertainer.
Like her work, his tunes eschew traditional categorization. Organ-heavy grooves and heady percussion are Rolston’s most trusted tools, employing a wide variety of sounds and eliciting an even wider range of emotions with his performance.
But Rolston isn’t just a performer; he’s an inventor, too. His most notable creation, the Drum Buddy, is a light-activated oscillating drum machine. His newest gadget, the Singing House, is a droning analog synthesizer with modulations that are dictated completely by the weather. Or, as Rolston described it, “a robot that sits outside in the weather and sings a song to you in your house.”
Ultimately, he strives to entertain, no matter who his audience is.
“I’m just an obsessive thinker,” Rolston said. “In New Orleans, we’re a normal rock band, but in a lot of other places, we’re the Chinese water ballet. Context is everything with music. It’s very much a two-way street. I want open communication of any kind. I don’t want to alienate or oppress any audience in any way.”
Miss Pussycat shares Quintron’s vision, hoping that audiences emerge from their unique live experience “really, really happy.”
With music as jovial, engaging and danceable, alienation ought not be a concern. However, having too much fun — if there is such a thing — might be.