Considering the genres and subgenres and whatever other classification you want to put Eels into, the two openers for Saturday night's show at Terminal 5 (9/25) were an odd trio. Carla Rhodes, also known as the "Rock and Roll Ventriloquist" - comedienne and ventriloquist alike - produced a Keith Richards dummy from her traveling suitcase and sang "Dead Flowers" with it. Not to be topped, her second puppet act, Cecil Sinclair sang songs about saltwater taffy and commanded her to "crank up that Victrola!"
Second act Jesca Hoop, donning a hot pink top with bell-shaped sleeves draped over her acoustic guitar, possessed a pure and ethereal voice and also made an unlikely pairing with the Eels. Hoop sang a "batch of precocious tunes" for us (her words) in a light, airy soprano that impressively did not lose its airiness even when visiting the lower registers. Her style is very Regina Spektor-like at times, switching octaves and then continuing on in a smooth legato. While the songs on her album Under My Dress are backed by a full band, Hoop's performance was solo, only accompanied by her guitar and would fit perfectly on a bill with Sarah McLachlan and co.