Minneapolis madman Mark Mallman was in between songs at a 2006 show when his guitarist started fiddling around with a riff from “When Doves Cry.” According to a reviewer, Mallman became angry and shouted, “Fuck that midget! This is my town now!” Prince probably doesn’t have too much to worry about, but Mallman is a big player in the Twin Cities scene, and this story illustrates precisely the kind of ironic self-aggrandizement and grandiosity that got him where he is today.
The art school graduate became famous for staging a 26-hour performance of a single song, a number called “Marathon” that required a cast of 28 musicians and more than 300 pages of lyrics. (He later topped it with a sequel that went on for more than 52 hours.) At a New Year’s Eve performance a few months ago, he claimed to make rock ’n’ roll history by being the first musician to play his keyboard with the rotating back wheel of an electric scooter. You can see this on YouTube, and it’s just one of many weird things you can see him doing there. In fact, the people posting Mallman videos on the site are apparently more interested in his between-song rants and midsong keyboard-humping antics than they are in his musicianship.
And Mallman is a formidable musician; he just prefers to play in the style of desperately uncool early-’80s stadium rock. His over-the-top antics suggest that the whole act is a joke, but then he doesn’t break character as long as he’s onstage — which suggests that he’s serious. Ultimately, his performance is so well executed and so much fun that you don’t really care.
MARK MALLMAN, The Beauty Bar, Monday, April 21. 619-516-4746. $2.