Tag Archives: Barenaked Ladies

One last look back at 2011

Here’s my 2011 list of concerts.  A little shorter than some years, but I had a lot of work distractions in the past year, so it’s actually a pretty good tally all things considered.  There’s a lot of quality there and a few once in lifetime shows.  I’ll make a few individual notes where appropriate  (But, of course there’s a review of each if you’re so inclined to read more.

Phil Vassar – A nice little private show at the PCMA conference for people with a CMP designation.  Fun and loose show.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Chromeo – A bit of a letdown, but I’m still hoping to see them again and see how they evolve.

Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine

Delgado Brothers

Jeff Beck & Imelda May – Once in a lifetime and one of the best shows I saw all year.

Prince – Another show that for all the hype was a bit of letdown.

Doheny Blues Fest – Tedeschi/Trucks, John Fogerty, Experience Hendrix, Mavis Staples, The Blasters, Funky Meters, Big Head Blues Club, (Plus others) – Two great days on the beach.  A couple misses, but mostly hits. Tedeschi/Trucks being the very best of day 1 and the Blasters the best of Day 2

KSBR Birthday Bash – Brenda Russell, Kieko Matsui, Brian Bromberg, Dan Siegel, (Plus others) – A really cool gift from my friend Eliott.

Eels – Confounding and complex.  It was great in some very unexplainable ways.

U2 & Lenny Kravitz (2x) – Night 2 was the better of the two nights, both were strong but night 2 has the edge (pun intended).

Weird Al

Kansas & Blue Oyster Cult – Not very good, one of the most disappointing shows of the year for me.

Rock Candy Funk Party – Going back in January, a top five evening and surprisingly it’s not once in a lifetime, looking forward to it very much.

Barenaked Ladies – Good, but not great.  More and more I miss Stephen Page.

Return to Forever & Zappa Plays Zappa – I’d say that along with Jeff Beck this were the most amazingly talented musicians I saw all year…or in many years.

Frank Turner – My best find of 2011.  Seeing him in February once again!

Fountains Of Wayne – I wanted this to be better, bit it wasn’t up to the pervious levels I’d seen them perform at.

Airborne Toxic Event – Another cool find of 2011 and this was the Filmore show in SF that was really cool.

Big Head Todd w/Ruthie Foster and Charlie Musselwhite – Again, a sort of letdown show and slightly disappointing overall.

Airborne Toxic Event, Tokyo Police Club, Built to Spill – Good headliner, the rest of the bill was hit and miss.

Bob Segar – Just reviewed, the man still has it!  Great show.

So there you have it.  My 2011 in a nutshell.

Looking ahead to 2011 I already have four shows slated.  Joe Bonamassa, Frank Turner, Social Distortion and Roger Waters.  Plus, I know Springsteen is touring.  So, lots to be excited about in the coming year.  Thanks as always for reading!  Happy New Year!

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Barenaked Ladies – September 18, 2011 – California Theatre, San Bernardino

Well, another Barenaked Ladies show….

I think I’ve seen them at least 20 and maybe as many as 30 times in the past eighteen years or so.  I was commenting in the car on the way home that it’s sort of interesting to have a followed a band so closely for so long and watched the ebb and flow of their career in the process.  The first time I saw them was around 1994 at the Coach House and honestly, tonight the crowd of San Bernardino  would have likely fit into that venue instead of rattling around in the large California Theatre in San Bernardino.  The five of us were in the Balcony, which was maybe half full.  I couldn’t get a good view of the floor, but assume that it was full and we’re talking maybe 750 people.  I recall seeing them headline a shows at Honda Center, Irvine Meadows and the Wiltern…I mean they never drew like Springsteen, but they had respectable crowds that seem to have dwindled back down to the hardcore.   And the curious, who included the older couple in front of us (older than me even) who walked out about halfway through.

Now, to their credit, crowd size didn’t seem top faze the band who played a solid set that walked the line between the hits and the rarities for the folks like me who get thrilled to hear (relative) obscurities like “Some Fantastic” and “Who Needs Sleep?” get dusted off.  That being said, the mix on “Who Needs Sleep” left a lot to be desired and was a bit of a wreck to start the show.  When someone who owns all of your albums isn’t quite sure what you’re playing at first….that’s not really a cracking start.  The engineer sorted things a bit and it settled down to a kick heavy, slightly muddy mix up top at our seats.

I guess now is a good time to address the biggest elephant in the room…the lack of Steve Page.  This is the second show I’ve seen in the “post-Page era”.  The remaining four put on an entertaining show and if you’d never seen them with Steve, I suspect you’d really not be that bothered.  But, for as much as I love them as a group….I miss Steve.  He and Ed had a terrific rapport and there was a magic that happened pretty much every night I ever saw them.  Ad libs, asides…they presented (on the face at least) of two good friends who were having a blast playing music.  Heck, they all came across that way then.  While the guys now obviously enjoy playing together, a bit of the same spark is gone.  When Ed ad libs a rap about San Bernardino and Route 66, the old fan in me is waiting for Steve to jump in with his own rhyme and riff off of Ed, or vice versa.  Ed is still talented, but like Bruce playing with the E Street Band, there is a magic that a group of old friends playing together creates that no amount of talent can cover alone (or at least in the same way).

All that is said without addressing the missing voice of Steve.  I’d say he had the best voice of the whole group and there is a hole in the harmony where he should be.  Tyler (the drummer) has improved his vocals….but, with his “enthusiasm” in singing Alcohol as the first encore…it was a bit of an acquired taste…(code for not very good…sorry Ty.)  The same with Kevin and Jim, both have unique and non-traditional vocal styles….not bad, but also different.  I just really noticed the hole where Steve’s voice would have filled in and made some of the songs work better.

With the Steve comments out of the way….Was the show entertaining? Yes…

They opened with “Who Needs Sleep” and then a nice take on “The Old Apartment” and “Get In Line”.  Ed did an Ad Lib Rap about the “R” in San Bernardino, Route 66 and the car show that was held outside the theatre earlier.  After that “Easy”, “Let there be Light” (a bonus track off the last CD that threw me for a bit).  Then came one of my all time favorites “Some Fantastic”….And any song that can include the line: “Much like pheromones for flies, you will not avoid my eyes…” rates pretty high on the awesome scale.  That’s one of the coolest things about the band, their lyrics are highly literate, very fun and from out of leftfield quite often….Amongst the words in tonights show alone…(besides pheromones)….” pedagogue”, “Australopithecus” and “obfuscate”.  And, every one of those not only rhymed….they fit perfectly into each song…(In order: “Brian Wilson”, “Big Bang Theory” and “Easy”).

Up next was a clever reworking of “Sound of Your Voice” with Kevin on lead, “I Can Sing” (from their children’s CD, Snacktime), “Brian Wilson”, “Am I the Only One”, “Too Little, Too Late”, “It’s all been Done” and “On the Lookout”.  Tough for a band to cover a whole career, but I was surprised that the CD “Everything to Everyone” was completely left out.  I guess it’s a luck of the draw thing…There were a lot more from “Stunt” and “Maroon” than I would have ever predicted.

They had a strong finish that even a casual fan would have no trouble recognizing…”Big Bang Theory”, “One Week”, “Pinch Me” and “If I had a MIllion Dollars”….solid stuff.  They came out of Million Dollars with the traditional BNL Rap, something I was glad to see they kept even without Steve (who used to just nail it on “Memories” or “My Heart Will Go On”.)  Tonight’s rap started with “It’s Magic” (The old Pilot song from the 70’s) then snippets of “Forget You”, “Rolling in the Deep”, “I Got A Feeling”, “Born this Way” and “Firework”.  Alongside the mash up was some fancy footwork by Ty, Jim and Ed….hard to describe….so, here’s a video from a few weeks ago that pretty much has the same arrangement….

And this is from last year, so slightly different songs, but really well edited and good quality.

They came back for a couple encores….The Tyler version of “Alcohol” and “Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel”.  Sort of an odd ending really.  A song sung by the drummer and a song about dying in a car crash.  Pretty non-traditional…I can sort of see what they were going for, but it felt slight;y awkward unless you’re a rabid fan.

As much as I love them and enjoyed the show, it had it’s flaws.  Maybe that’s okay for a band that’s comfortable in it’s own world, and maybe they are just accepting that the hardcores like me will keep showing up and not worrying about trying to climb the huge top 40 mountain again.  I guess that for some of us we’ve still not quite moved on yet from such a huge change in the dynamic of the group.  They have to rely on a lot of hits that were made by someone who isn’t there anymore and the comparisons are very difficult not to make.  I know that bands make changes, and people move on….and as I said up top, if you’d never seen them before you’d have had a great time tonight….

As for me, I may still be one stage short of “acceptance” in the grieving process and still mourning slightly the memories of one of my favorite bands and how they aren’t quite the same anymore.

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Big Week Ahead!

So, things have been a little quiet for a month or so on the concert front, but next week will bring a huge spike in activity.  Three shows.  Barenaked Ladies on Sunday, Return to Forever on Tuesday and Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs on Saturday.

In the intervening time I did go to one show that I didn’t do a full write up about.  A band called “Working Hour” at the Viper Room in Hollywood.  The drummer is the son of one of my best friend’s friend.  They are a nice group of kids from the midwest who came out here (like so many before) to seek their fortune in the music business.

Pretty talented and and they put on a nice show that night.  Here’s a link to their music video so you can check them out.

It was quite a time shift for me just to be up hanging out down the street from the Whiskey and the Roxy.  My friend, his wife and I even walked down to the old Tower Records to pay our respects to what used to be the mecca of our music shopping.  Quite a trip down memory lane.  See you all over the next few days with a lot more to say!

 

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Wrapping up 2010

Wow, where do I start….

As evidenced by the previous posts I had a pretty amazing year of concert-going.  A near lifelong quest completed, an epic show I’d missed 30 years ago revisited.  A music oriented couple weeks in London.  Countless HOF members of the Rock Hall of Fame….heck a ton of them in just a single week.  Shows with good friends old and new.  Hard to even wrap my head around the whole thing.

Here’s the list:

Keb’ Mo’ – Coach House – Jan 14

The Blasters, John Doe, Rumble King – Coach House – Feb 20

Peter Gabriel – Hollywood Bowl – May 7

Styx, Kansas, Foreigner – Citizens Bank Arena – May 19

Richard Thompson – Royal Festival Hall – June 19

Green Day, Joan Jett – Wembley Stadium – June 19

Elvis Costello – Royal Festival Hall – June 20

Glastonbury – June 23-27

Jackson Browne – Albert Hall – June 29

Jack Johnson – O2 Arena – June 30

Laura Marling, Fanfarlo, Peggy Sue, Smoke Fairies – Hyde Park – July 1

Hop Farm – July 2-3

Jools Holland – Kew Gardens – July 6

Barenaked Ladies, Kris Allen, Angel Taylor – Greek Theatre – July 22

Blondie, Gorevette – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 8

Rush – Irvine Meadows – August 13

Al Yankovic – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 14

Scissor Sisters – DAR Consitiution Hall – August 23

Neil Finn – Largo – September 11

Muse, Passion Pit – Staples Center – September 25

Gorillaz, N.E.R.D. – Gibson – October 27

Bonobo – Music Box – November 26

Roger Waters – Staples Center – November 29

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 13

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 14

Twenty three shows and two festivals in all.  I don’t think I could even pick a “best”.  However a few things to note do occur to me.

Worst sound, Scissor Sisters.  Horrible mix that completely left the vocals out, and it’s not like I had a crappy seat, I was in the 5th row.  Really guys?  Totally detracted from an interesting performance.

Only show I left early, Jack Johnson.  It was okay, but very one-note.  I like his studio stuff, but in a huge arena it was lost.  Put the same show in an intimate venue and I might have loved it.  Add to the experience that I was a bit sick that night and it was just not a compelling show.

Most disappointing, Muse/Passion Pit.  Passion Pit left me cold and Muse after all the hype just didn’t live up to expectations.  Lot’s of copped riffs and wasted technology that didn’t go anywhere.  If you want to use technology look to Gabriel, Waters or even the Pet Shop Boys.  This was “sound and fury that signified nothing”…

Most intimate, Neil Finn.  The Largo is magic when Neil plays there and the September show was no exception.  An obscure setlist that actually added to the special feeling of the evening.  You knew even while watching this was the sort of thing that would never be duplicated.  Jackson Browne in the acoustic tent at Glastonbury was a close second.  While the masses grooved to Stevie Wonder….Jackson held court for a few hundred lucky folks and spun magic with his sidekick David Lindley.  Moving and unique almost sell short just how very special a way it was to end my Glastonbury experience.

Surprises…How awesome Gorillaz were in LA after disappointing in Glastonbury.

Bonobo, Midlake, Hot Chip, Fanfarlo, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Magic Numbers, The Bees….none of whom I knew before 2010 and who all get extensive spins regularly on my ipod now.

How great Rush could be at doing “Moving Pictures” after being somewhat average the other time I’d seen them previously….this show made up for that one in spades.

Disappointment….U2 having to cancel in Anaheim and Glastonbury…(of course it does give me a couple shows to look forward to in 2011 already…)

Well, that’s it…another year in the books, and an amazing one at that.  Curious to see what 2011 (and beyond) will bring?  But, it’ll be hard for any year to reach the heights of 2010 for me.

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