Reptile Palace at Sinnissippi Music Shell

Are they here to serenade Jane, Burpee’s celebrity dinosaur? The Reptile Palace Orchestra (RPO) returns to open the Sinnissippi Summer Series at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 8, at the Sinnissippi Music Shell. Charlotte’s Web welcomes this popular group back to Rockford.

The RPO delights concertgoers with their original mixing of East and West Funk and Folk and skin-shredding torch tunes. Gypsy Rock? Traditional toe-twisters? Balkan Lounge Funk? There’s a lizard trying to fit into a pigeonhole. Elvis plus Armenian Funkadelic plus Bulgarian equals RPO.

This group has long been one of Madison, Wis.’s most inventive, eclectic bands, playing an engaging set of material ranging from torchy lounge to klezmer to Turkish dance songs to Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” The band takes its time releaseing albums, with just six since its 1994 inception, and all of them are fun, weird and worldwide in scope. The most recent is 2003’s We Know You Know. “No mammals, fish or reptiles were harmed in the making of this record,” claims the band’s Web site, “however, some insects and isopods were sacrificed.”

“These guys are a breed all unto themselves. Part Bulgarian, part Colombian, part swing, part Balkan, part guy-with-an-iguana-head riding in a boat with three kids, the Reptile Palace Orchestra certainly can’t have any rivals for whatever they do. For one thing, I don’t know if the world’s big enough for more than one of them!”—Tom Schulte.

All shows at the Sinnissippi Summer Series in Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. 2nd St., are free! Rain site is Mendelssohn PAC, 415 N. Church St. For more information, call Charlotte’s Web at 964-2238. For rain site info, call 987-8800 after 2:30 p.m. on the date of the concert.

From the July 5-11, 2006, issue

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