Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Mike Keneally - Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins: Dancing CD (album) cover


Mike Keneally


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Most people reading this will probably be asking themselves exactly who Mike Keneally is. The multi-instrumentalist composer found his roots touring with Frank Zappa on his epic '88 tour as the "stunt guitarist" replacing Steve Vai (who he'd later collaborate with). In the 90s, Keneally found his own niche of the modern avant-garde scene and hasn't looked back since with many solid releases over the past 15 years. This album, a collaboration with the backing band known as Beer For Dolphins (even though most of the band had previously worked with Keneally), is the premiere outing for Keneally and his twisted brand of rock music.

Now, from the get go, strong songwriting takes the foray. Songs like Live in Japan and Ankle Bracelet have some more mainstream fringes to them, but there's some creative use of horns, percussion, and synthesizers in the background giving the pieces a more Frank Zappa-esque feeling to them musically (although they aren't nearly as complex as Zappa would get). But these two songs are only in the beginning of the album, which has 20 songs ranging from vocal ramblings (Poo-Tee-Weet?) to all-out guitar solo spotlights (Kedgeree). The best thing about this album is even though it's long (nearly 80 minutes), is that the quality never lets down and every song continues and expands upon the others creating an even stronger work as a whole (even though it doesn't segue and isn't conceptual). This album is an aural journey that leaves the listener gasping for breath and wanting to hear more from this incredibly creative ensemble.

Fans of Frank Zappa will be right at home with nearly any Mike Keneally album, as the man nearly owes his career to Zappa. However, it's not as avant-garde as other Mike Keneally albums, making it more accessible to fans who aren't as receptive to Frank Zappa's crazier works. There's a lot to like about this album, and it's not the only one to be released by this group (the others being Sluggo! and Half Alive in Hollywood). If you're just getting into Keneally or have an interest in what he sounds like, I'd say this is the best album to start with. If you like it, you'll probably become interested in his other works and then you won't be sorry, for you've found another incredible artist deserving of recognition. Dancing is a masterpiece of modern avant-garde music and shouldn't go unnoticed.

Report this review (#118100)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars While this is not a masterpiece like his first two albums, this Mike Keneally release certainly provides enough entertainment at many levels to make it worth hunting down.

Keneally has honed his style down, creating an album that, while more coherent (his early releases jumped maniacally from genre to genre, sometimes at lightning speed), manages to touch enough different styles, and include enough Zappa references, to satisfy this hungry progger.

Some of the high points to me are Pretty Enough For Girls, Taster and Brown Triangles, all with their share of the Zappa sound (Frank himself might have played the guitar solo on Taster, it's so good). But the best song is the frenzied Lhai Sal. A worthy song for any prog fan.

There are a few stinkers on this album. The opener, Live In Japan, based on a weak pun, is too mainstream, and Joe and Only Mondays, are just too light. And often, Keneally's free-form melodic style makes too many songs sound the same.

My copy has the bonus disk, Dancing With Myself, a live recording, two thirds of it has Keneally playing mostly songs from Dancing on solo guitar or piano, and the last third is the full band playing, with Keneally on a mostly effect-free guitar. It's nice, but I wouldn't say essential.

Report this review (#279515)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars For those who don't know Mike Keneally he previously played in Frank Zappa's band replacing Steve Vai as the stunt guitarist in the latter part of the eighties. I would recommend checking out a couple of live Zappa recordings that Mike played on in "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life" and "Make A Jazz Noise Here" both released in 1991. Mike has created at least a dozen studio albums over the years including a new release this year. This one is from 2000 and it's my first experience with Keneally's solo stuff.

First off I have to say my first couple of listens didn't go that well as I wasn't expecting so much normal music for someone who is listed under Avant and Experimental sub-genres on most sites. After many listens though this has both grown on me but also it has slowly revealed it's true self. This is sophisticated music with clever and often humerous lyrics. There are 20 tracks so i'll touch on some of the highlights. Okay the low light first of all is "Live In Japan" which is just too catchy for my tastes. Not a good start and it did make me think that the album's title was based on this track. The next song "Ankle Bracelet" is a favourite of mine though. This is powerful with vocals while "Backward Deb" also has some beef to it with that low-end sound and check out the interesting lyrics(haha). Nice instrumental section around 3 minutes in especially the drumming. "We'll Be Right Back" has some thought provoking lyrics and check out the vibes and sax later on. Excellent track. "Joe" is a beautiful laid back tune with vocals and the vibes are a nice touch as well.

"Pretty Enough For Girls" has some flute early on then this Zappa-like guitar solo takes over. Some funny spoken words 4 1/2 minutes in then we get passionate vocals to follow. "Taster" is a great instrumental that at one point reminds me of PORCUPINE TREE with the atmosphere. "Selfish Otter" is more of what I was expecting with the complex and experimental sound. "Only Mondays" is silky smooth like a STEELY DAN tune. Love it! "Lhai Sal" has some killer bass in it and is guitar driven with some impressive drum work. "Brown Triangles" is Zappa-like all the way,especially the guitar. "I Was Not Ready For You" is a melancholic vocal track that I enjoy a lot. "Ragged Ass" is humerous with lights-out playing. Nice bass 1 1/2 minutes in followed by vibes and sax. "Skull Bubbles" is great both lyrically and instrumentally.

I have to say that this probably wasn't the best place to start when it comes to Mike Keneally albums, especially if your into Avant music but on the other hand for someone more into the melodic side of music this might be the perfect place to start. A low 4 stars and I look forward to some of Mike's more challenging recordings.

Report this review (#1280528)
Posted Saturday, September 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

MIKE KENEALLY Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins: Dancing ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of MIKE KENEALLY Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins: Dancing

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.