BNL concert in Boise ID

There have been many who questioned the Ladies’ ability to continue on as a band without Steve. Many wondered if the band would survive. “How can they sustain such a loss?”

Addition by subtraction, my friends. Less indeed can be more.

I have attended some great concerts by epic bands: Muse, Tool, Rush … all of them pale in comparison to BNL in their ability to command crowd interaction. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Ed, Jim, Tyler, and Kevin were best friends with every single person in the crowd at every single show. In fact, let me amend that: they act as if they’re best friends with every single person in each and every crowd.

So we left town yesterday morning to drive up here to Boise. Got up here around 4, checked in, ran some pre-concert errands, then headed to the venue. The show was held at the Idaho botanical gardens, which just happens to be situated right next to the old prison to stage left. To stage right is this scenic view of some mountains. Kind of an interesting backdrop. There was a constant threat of rain the entire evening. Call it what you will–the act of a benevolent God, a sweet intervention on mother nature’s part … it did not rain one drop on the entire crowd. As Ed so aptly put it, “THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!” to which we all cheered raucously.

Serena Ryder

To be honest, I has not done my homework on her prior to coming out. I’m glad I didn’t. She was an incredibly pleasant surprise. She took the stage with a mic and her guitar–no supporting band. Apparently she has one, but she’s touring on her own right now. She put on an incredible, all-too-short show, comprised of 6 songs, none of which I had ever heard, but all of which I’m glad I got to see in person.

Here’s her set list:

  • All for Love
  • Brand New Love
  • A Little Bit of Red
  • Weak in the Knees
  • What I Want To Know
  • Sing Sing

It seems like I’m missing one or two. I was keeping pretty close track, but … I dunno. So, she’s this incredibly stage-friendly girl who rips a guitar up and down while she belts out this incredibly soulful voice that has just a hint of Nashville in it but enough folk to keep the country haters at bay. “Weak in the Knees” was a duet with Ed Robertson. It was extremely cool to see them perform together. “Sing Sing” was far and away her best. No guitar, just her and the mic in a Stomp-style beat throw-down and clapping while she unleashed this acappella blast. Very cool chick.

People were yelling things to her and she’d respond with a polite and quippy answer. I decided to be polite and raise my hand, since we were just that close. Knowing that she’s from Ontario, Canada, I asked her if she was a Senators fan. She just kind of chuckled a bit, then sweetly and politically danced around it without commiting to a yes or no answer, which, in retrospect, is completely understandable. Can’t alienate one fan base or another, right? Stupid me. 🙂

After her set, she went back by the merchandise table to hang out and meet with the commoners. I got two of her CDs: one for my wife and me; and one for our friends who got us the tix. After apologizing for making the Senators comment, she just laughed and said she thought it was funny. Hey, it got me a picture with her! She seemed really genuine and down to earth. I can’t wait for her to come to the SLC!!

Barenaked Ladies

As previously mentioned, there have been detractors who questioned the band’s ability to move on. “Have they lost their essence?” “Are they capable of maintaining their fan base?”

To those who asked those questions, I hope you hang your head in shame. For the band to re-invent themselves by changing practically nothing is the mark of a dedicated group of musicians. The Ladies are fortunate to have 4 such individuals in their group. The wit, the humor, the mid-set city-inspired improvs, the excellent musicianship … all as if they had always been a 4-piece band.

I’ve noticed a distinct and more than likely very purposeful lack of any discussion of Steve. I imagine it’s hard on them to lose such a good friend and band mate, but at the same time, I don’t think it was as amicable a break-up as everyone thinks it was. Not that there’s any level of animosity between him and them … I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. I have to believe that their first single off the new album, “You Run Away,” is almost auto-biographical. I swear Ed teared up ever so slightly while performing that song. And who could blame him?

This is just my personal opinion … while I miss Steve’s voice and contributions, I do believe that the band has MUCH more creative potential now than it ever has. Jim and Kevin are more than equipped to contribute musically–not just in playing their respective instruments, but in contributing entire songs–music and lyrics. All in Good Time more than supports that idea. They provide 5 tracks on the new CD–about the same amount as they had in the rest of their previous discography.

As for the concert itself, it was great to see them on stage again, even though my wife and I had just seen them not 6 months previous in SLC at the Depot for their Christmas concert. They played a very solid set, mixing old with new (though the only two songs they played that were pre-Stunt were “Old Apartment” and “If I Had $1000000”). Here’s their set list.

  • Testing 1-2-3
  • Old Apartment
  • Falling for the First Time
  • Boise Rap
  • Wind It Up
  • Every Subway Car (with Serena Ryder)
  • Another Heartbreak
  • Never Is Enough (just Jim and Ed)
  • Polywog (yes, they played a Snack Time song!)
  • Sound of Your Voice
  • Ordinary
  • Big Bang
  • 4 Seconds
  • Kevin’s piano solo
  • Unfinished
  • Boise song: You Fascinate Me
  • You Run Away
  • I Saw It
  • Too Little Too Late
  • One Week
  • It’s All Been Done
  • Pinch Me (ugh … such a drunk concert chick story about this song that will forever haunt me)
  • If I had $1000000

encore

  • Alcohol (sung by Tyler)
  • Summertime
  • Easy

Here are the pics we took.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slgld/4632473713/in/set-72157623998039499/

The show was phenomenal. Everyone smiled and had a ton of fun. Being on the front row, it was a tad difficult to see to the back of the crowd, but from what I could see, everyone was standing and dancing.

One of the standout songs was Tyler’s rendition of “Alcolhol.” You can tell he doesn’t get out from behind the drums very often. 🙂 No offense, Tyler! It was an awesome performance. He was all over the place, adding his distinct Tyler personality to the song. I wish I could have gotten some video footage. It was great.

“Polywog,” off of their Snack Time CD, had the crowd jump jumping to the top of the stump stump. Ed’s little mid-song rap was even better live than it is on the CD. Ha ha!

My favorite song off the new CD–“Four Seconds,” is one of the best lyrically that they’ve done in a long time. Any time you can actually rhyme something with “orange” (albeit with an ounce of forgiveness), you know you have a winner.

If this concert did *nothing* else for me, it showed me that BNL is still BNL–that they enjoy their crowds and fans as much as if not more than just about any other band out there; that they enjoy putting on an awesome stage shows; that they will prove to you night in and night out why their live shows are some of the best around.

But this particular show did so much more for me than just that. They are truly friends. When they announced that Steve had left the band, I felt as big a void as I’m sure they did. Along with them, I am filling that “void” with their new music. Not to mention that we got to go on a road trip with our incredibly awesome friends, with whom we don’t get to spend nearly enough time. They enjoy the band as much as we do.

My most incredibly awkward concert moment was achieved when drunk chick (whose picture I didn’t even think to take) reached up and grabbed my left nipple while the band was playing “Pinch Me.” I was literally stunned into a motionless stupor. “Whu … I …… why ……. don’t ……….” followed by a full-body shudder that ended with the heebie-jeebies on a scale of which I had never before experienced. Just … blugh. I felt tainted. I also laughed about it hysterically when I told my wife and friends. It was seriously weird.

In summary, the concert was fantastic. The band is back and as strong as ever. Serena Ryder was an experience unto itself, and I hope she’ll come to Utah here in the near future. Thanks for the fun evening, lady and ladies!

Lest You Think I Was Kidding

See? New CD. Most excellent.

Sunday Morning …

Ed. note: “Sunday Morning” has now become Monday morning due to an unforeseen, unfortunate event yesterday morning that put the writer in a state of discontent for a vast majority of the day.

So today, I seemingly have a kidney infection. Nothing too out of control … for some reason, I get these with alarming frequency. And the pain absolutely sucks. Extremely sore lower back, excruciating joints and stuff … it’s probably the least fun anyone could have without actually dying. If any of you out there have had a kidney infection, you know what I mean.  Anyway, since I’m kind of penned up in the house for who knows how long, I thought I’d tackle the stack of new stuff I haven’t written about yet and get these imported into iTunes.

Oh. And I can’t sleep, which is the main reason I’m sitting here.

List.

  • Beak
  • Raveonettes – In and Out of Control
  • Vue – Vue
  • Lois – Strumpet
  • Corder0 – Lamb Lost in the City
  • Heather Duby
  • Heather Duby – Come across the River
  • Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
  • Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man – Out of Season
  • The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights
  • Katherine Whalen’s Jazz Squad
  • Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
  • Plastiscines – LP 1
  • Flyleaf – Memento Mori
  • Von Iva – Girls on Film
  • The Music
  • The Music – Welcome to the North
  • Fang Island
  • Cloudland Canyon – Lie in Light
  • Golden Smog – ANother Fine Day
  • Elf Power – In A Cave

Over the course of the next week, I expect about another 10+ CDs to show up in the mail. Lots of ordering based upon recent purchases. Especially Cordero, Vue, Plastiscenes and The Music.

Of other note, we have tickets to the BNL show in Boise on May 21st. If any of you are going to be there, please let me know! We’d love to meet up with fellow fans.

Same for the Muse and Silversun Pickups show in Utah on April 5th (ONE WEEK TO GO!). Let me know if you’re going!

Barenaked Ladies – All in Good Time

When last we heard from our boys au naturale, they had put together a solid, eventual two-disc set that was both emotive and frolicking. With humourous bits on “… Are Me” such as “Bank Job” and “Bull in a China Shop,” and with such whimiscal, fanciful songs as “Everything had Changed,” we were treated to some fantastic music by a great band.

Then we were treated to an entire new CD in “… Are Men.” Kevin Hearn took the lead with “Serendipity” and “Another Spin,” while Steven page and Ed Robertson took the reigns on pretty much everything else.

In 2009, Steve and the band parted ways. Many among the faithful shuddered in fear for what the future of the band would hold.
Barenaked Ladies are back. To the faithful who endured the wait, wondering with baited breath what would become of the band, the payoff is … well, it’s fan-frickin’-tastic.

Fare thee well, Steven Page. We will miss you.

For the rest of us, please join me in ushering the new era and welcoming the revamped band to the limelight, which they richly deserve.

In Steve’s absence, Jim Creeggan and Kevin Hearn have stepped up to the plate with a force that I really think few doubted. Jim has two tracks and Kevin has 3 on the new, non-bonus track CD. If you’re one of the few who can find the bonus track disc,  you’ll be treated to 1 additional track from each Jim and Kevin.

See my earlier post regarding Kevin and Jim’s side project material. If you have any doubt that they have earned their right to pen at least a couple of Ladies tracks, please find a way to (legally) acquire their material. You won’t regret it.

Now for the CD review …

I could be wrong about this (but I’m probably not), but I’m willing to stake a dinner at Flemings for the entire band that the opening track, “You Run Away,” is a graceful tribute to the departure of Steve. Emotionally charged with lyrics like, “You turn and run away from me. I’ll give you something to cry about. One thing you should try out: hold a mirror shoulder high, when you’re older, look you in the eye.”

To say that it is blatently transparent is akin to saying something like “an elephant is large and gray.” You can actually hear the pain in Ed’s voice as he laments the loss of his long-time band mate and friend. Tremulous and shaky at times, traumatic and tortured, the band gives us a brief glimpse into the hell the band went through.

As the CD progresses, it’s evident that the band went to great lengths to maintain an air of familiarity so as not to alienate its original fan base, but at the same time they have taken on the daunting challenge of making a CD that’s different than anything they’ve done previously. With tracks like “Summertime” that has a rather heavy guitar riff (well, okay … heavy for them), though complimented with synth and keyboards from Kevin that help guide the fan back the the comfort of the old while experimenting with the new. Jim and Tyler provide some really fantastic back-up vocals. “So bundle up and hunker down. Here it comes again, just one more round. See you on the other side. Mercury falls, so how do we make it through the days? How do we not give in and bottom out? well you have to understand that soon enough you’ll wake  up from such a daze thanks to all the many ways we’re all pushing through for summertime.”

Track 3 is Kevin’s first song: “Another Heartbreak.” There’s something about his voice that is just so … different. Airy and light, moody and soothing, he navigates his way through they lyrics. “Now here you stand in front of me in all your complexity that I’ve mistaken for simplicty.” Again with the heavier guitars, but this time they’re in the background as Kevin pounds away on the keyboard.

“Four Seconds” is like nothing they’ve ever done.  It kind of reminds me of a creepy mix of “One Week” and “For You.” I can’t even keep up with the lyrics. “I’ve been away for years and a day. You’d be thinking I’d be lonely, but I’m not here to stay. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” The best part of this song is the prominent vocals of none other than Tyler Stewart. What a rare treat. “One Missississippi, two Missississippi, three Missississippi, Foooouurr …”

They played this song at their show at The Depot back in December. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn’t wait to hear it on the CD. That has not changed one bit. It’s just so funky. And DIFFERENT. This one has radio potential written all over it. It’s short, too: less than 3 minutes.

Jim gets the nod on track 5, “On the Lookout.” I love how this kind of has a 70s vibe to it. The use of strings completely makes the song. The other 3 band members take point on harmonizing. “This all will pass, just like us. Just like this thought. Don’t miss this; we’ve only got one shot.”

Like always, I don’t want to go through and review the entire CD. I just want to give you an idea of what you can expect when you play this for yourself. My personal opinion is that, if you like BNL in the past, this CD will amaze you. If you haven’t liked BNL in the past, well … I can’t help you there. This CD, on the other hand, can and will.

Dangerous Amazon One-Click

Yah … so, I got a copy of Barenaked Ladies’ new CD, All in Good Time. I’m not going to sugar-coat it; I actively went out and looked for it on various torrent sites. I don’t have a problem with this because I plan on getting it first thing Tuesday morning before I even come to work, unless crappy Walmart doesn’t have the bonus track disc, in which case I’ll look elsewhere later in the day. We’ll see.

Anyway, so I was listening to that CD this morning in the car (the review of which is forthcoming). It got me thinking about the other band members’ contributions to this CD. Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan both have other projects: Thin Buckle and Creeggan Brothers respectively. Both have multiple CDs to their credit aside from their joint offerings with the Ladies. I, being the music junkie that I am and thoroughly enjoying their scant songs over BNL’s previous releases, finally decided to get their solo stuff.

All of it. At once.

Curse you, one-click button. Curse you.

Granted, it took 7 or 8 times of gently touching that button (iPhone … not a lot of pressure needed at all), but you get my point. I ordered both of their back catalogs in their entirety, if Amazon’s listings are to be believed.

The really dangerous part is the fact that all this was accomplished between home and work, driving in traffic and construction. Dumb, yes … I know. Would I do it again? Probably. I’m a cautious driver (“says the guy buying stuff left and right while he’s barreling down the highway at 65+ MPH …”). I check my mirrors, I look around me, I keep my speed relatively in check … hey, not one accident in over 22 years of driving, so say what you want.

Anyway, just thought i’d

Barenaked in the SLC

I’ve actually lost count of how many Ladies’ shows I’ve seen. Gotta remember …

1. September 1999
2. October 2000
3. February 2002
4. November 2006

I have to believe that there was a show between 2002 and 2006, but I’m not positive. i’ll have to consult my stubs.

I do remember this about each and every show: they all ruled with the highest auhority given to bands. their crowd interaction and energy are unparalleled, even by the likes of Muse, who seemingly have boundless energy. I highly suspect that tonight’s show will be at least 100%.

well, okay … maybe only 80%, but that is only due to the absence of Steven Page–one of the founding members if the band. I’m sure the rest of the band will give 100%. They always do.

So now I’m in the venue. pretty nice place. supposedly, they have pizza and chips upstairs, bit we can’t get upstairs yet. My wife is stuck in traffic somewhere. She won’t be here for about an hour.

BNL. I can’t say enough good things about them. they’re fun. they love their fans. they enjoy being with their fans. they’re not narcissistic ingrate; they know who propelled them into the limelight, and they show their gratitude through their shows.

Tonight, I even brought my camera. Totally laid back policy. Pics are good and blessed; vids are not. And that’s totally understandable.

The bar tender here is talking music with me. She likes a lot of indie hippie type stuff. Here’s the list:

  • G Love and the Special Sauce (“sloppy jazz,” sounds kind of like a mix of Sublime and Bob Marley)
  • Missy Higgins
  • Michael Fronti
  • Keb Mo
  • Taj Mahal Trio
  • Xavier Rudd
  • Spearhead
  • Jay Nash, “A Stream up North”

I’m always on the search for new music.

These are some of the people ahead of us in line.

As one person stated earlier, BNL crowds are all about the fun. That’s so true. Most everyone gets along, there aren’t a lot of rude people … it’s always a really laid back atmosphere.

These are some of the people behind us.

WE ARE IN! I am flat-out in lov with this place. it’s tiny, it’s intimate, and it looks amazing. Lori and I have a table 15 feet from the stage and 20 fro
where the band will be. TINY.

This was taken from the very back of the floor. See how close everything is?

this is the view from our table. I can’t believe how close we are.

apparently, “hang our coats” is chick chat for “steal the seats in front of you and totally obliterate your view.”

Lori nailed it: this place is totally like The House of Blues in Vegas.

So this is Kevin Griffen, the lead singer from Better than Ezra.

Guy is mellow and cool. Great stage presence. Didn’t know this, but he wrote “You and I collide,” or whatever that song is called. He did a duet of “Silent Night” with Megan Joy – a SLC local.

Shout-out to Michelle and Stori. We chatted with them some of the night. Excellent convo, new friends! Their picture is below.

BNL’s new material is frickin’ awesome. I can’t wait to get their new CD in March.

During the song “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlmen,” Ed said, “Ladies and gentlemen, a very special Christmas gift just for you, Salt lake, will you please welcome our good friend, Sarah McLachlan, to the stage?” We all went berserk. And I do mean EVERYone. Then Ed just grinned. “Ha ha. Just kidding.” Good one, Ed. Good one. I don’t think I’ve ever been that suckered at a show.

There’s some drunk idiot behind is who keeps yelling negative stuff about the new stuff. it’s getting annoying. “I’ll whistle when they play something I know.” Direct quote. Sad.

Well, now we’re home. The show was amazing. Like I said, they played some new stuff that sounded really good. The new CD in March should be extremely well written and played. I like that everyone will probably have a contributing hand in it. Why shouldn’t they? Jim, Tyler and Kevin are all talented musicians. They SHOULD have a bigger role. I always liked BNL’s stuff when Steve was with the band, but it just seemed like he was kind of taking over. He’s good–no arguments there … but when you have a band of 5, and 2 contribute on a routine basis, it gets kind of … I don’t know. I hesitate to use the word “stale,” but truthfully, the last 2 CDs were kind of just that.

I really enjoyed getting to see Jim walk around stage. No upright bass for this show–just Jim and his 4-string slung over his neck. And he plays back-up vocalist extremely well. He and his brother Andy have a side project called “The Brothers Creegan.” Lori and I have their CD “Trunks.” It’s amazing. The more I think about it, the more excited I get for the new CD.

So I scored a free hat. The drunk guy behind me actually tried starting a fight. Long story short, it never came to a brawl, but it almost did. Finally, he calmed down, and we went back to enjoying the show.

A few minutes later, he must have felt drunk love or whatever cuz he put his arm around me and said, “You know, it’sh not that I don’t like this shtuff … I jusht really missh Shteve …” Yes, well … he left a rather large hole to fill. However, the band, and I do mean THE WHOLE BAND, filled those shoes more than adequately. After that and a couple minutes later, he gave me his hat. Apparently, he had just bought it. I don’t know.

Anyway, to all of those who end up reading this and were at the show, I sincerely apologize if “that incident” took away from your enjoyment of the show. I don’t think anyone enjoys negativism for a band they paid good money to see. Yah, if the band sucks and deserves to be booed, sure. That was certainly not the case last night.

Here are some of the choice pics from the show.

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