Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Jump for Joy! Second Danny Weinkauf Album Available for Pre-Order!

Hey all! Bet you thought I fell off the planet. But nothing brings me racing back to the blog-o-sphere faster than an new album announcement from one of my favorite peeps!

That's right, it is once again time to wave my Red Pants Team banner high! That incomparable, high-flying, red-pants-stylin', kindie rock dynamo Danny Weinkauf has just launch a PledgeMusic drive for his second album with his very own Red Pants Band.


There are some great perks if you pre-order like signed CDs, t-shirts, even your very own song! I've gotten a sneak peak at some of the tracks played live at concerts over the last year and they are super-tastic (see I had to make up a word just to describe them). I promise, if you liked No School Today, you are going to love this album.

So what are you waiting for? Jump up and join the parade!

P.S. Don't miss the questionable safety of playing guitar while bouncing on a trampoline in the pledge video :-)


Friday, December 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Danny!

Happy birthday to Danny Weinkauf! Hope it's a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Dan!

October 3 comes around but once a year. And you know what that means right? RIGHT?!

All together now...


The very happiest of happy birthdays to our favorite guitarist. Hope it's a totally rockin' day!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Marty Beller!

Happy, happy birthday to the King of the Drums...Mr.....Marty....Beller!!!!!

Long may he reign! Rock your heart out, Marty :-)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Linnell!

It's Linnell day! Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy *insert flailing Kermit the Frog arms*

Happy birthday to one of the most brilliant and awe inspiring songwriters of our generation. Hands down, no exaggeration. Hope it's a really lovely day filled with lots of people appreciating your awesomeness. 

I will start.

You are awesome.

Thank you for sharing your abundant talents with the world.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Flansy!

Hey everybody, it's Flans Day! Internationally recognized holiday, celebrated by TMBG fans world-wide, to honor the occasion of the birth of that most esteemed rock 'n' roll "giant", John Flansburgh!

This looks to be a banner year for Flansburgh, with several truly stellar Flans-penned tunes already released on Glean and dozens more to come. In my own esteem, Flans has achieved the pinnacle of success this year, not only in being the composer of my favorite song on the new album, but also in having written the majority of my favorite songs on the album. He has absolutely outdone himself and I can't wait to see what's still in store.

Please join me in a hearty "hip-hip-hurray" and "happy birthday" for Mr. Flansburgh, and celebrate by tuning into Conan tonight to watch the band perform Answer!

Happy Birthday, Flans!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two Bosoms Walk Into A Bar

January 25, 2015 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY

I have not done a particularly good job at keeping up with concert write ups in the last couple of years. Some how it was a manageable thing when I was seeing 20-30 shows a year but got very unmanageable when I was seeing 50+. And once I stopped, I wasn't exactly sure how to start again. But I am going to try to at least write up the MHoW shows this year as they seem destined to be really special ones.

Arrived at MHoW around noon, just slightly beating the crew to the venue for load in. Kind of fun to see that they can unload an entire stage set-up in 20 minutes flat. Also lovely to see all my band buddies again after such a long hiatus. I ducked out for a bit to make a dash into Manhattan to see Danny play a kids show at the Jewish Museum. He was sick as a dog and yet still managed to get the kids dancing and hopping around. Prime example of "the show must go on" and he powered through it admirably, with a little help from his band. They debuted a new song I hadn't heard yet called Only One You, which was really fun. It features bass player Tina Kenny on lead vocals and I am definitely looking forward to hearing it on a future recording.

There are pictures from that gig on Flickr if anyone is curious: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mynameisbluecanary/sets/72157650065986597/

Dashed back down to Brooklyn for several more hours in the cold as soon as the gig was done. Met lots of lovely new people in line. Hi, new people! I hope to see you all again in February! I admit, I feel like I cheated skipping out on being out in the cold while I was at the other gig but I am sure I'll make up for it in February.

We overheard an extended soundcheck from outside. Almost more of a rehearsal as they ran through probably close to a dozen songs and it went on for over an hour. My guess is that they didn't get a lot of chance to rehearse with the full group prior to the show.

Once inside, checked out the new selection of merch. I highly approve of the new hoodie (which I am currently wearing) but am undecided on the new "tuxedo" T-shirt, largely because the cartoon figure whose head you become when wearing it, is so hairy and appears to inexplicably be digging worms. I'll probably end up getting it later just out of a sense of completeness but I can't really see myself wearing it.

There was a slight misadventure while we were waiting for the show to start when one of the lights on the ceiling appeared to spontaneously break, showing the stage with something, though whether it was broken glass or water or gel from the filter we could never quite tell. It appeared to stump the crew too, who stood staring at it for a bit and couldn't really seem to determine what had happened. It didn't seem to affect anything during the show, however.

The "Evening with" aspect of the MHoW shows means no opener and an early 8pm start time, which is kind of refreshing. They kicked off the show with a recording of No Cops as an intro and projected the video on the ceiling, then the band started right up with Damn Good Times. Flans had the boys play very softly during the quiet verse, giving his performance a little extra pizazz. Must say that Flans was in top form throughout the night, though he was struggling with some technical issues.

When they paused to greet the crowd, Linnell asked everyone how it was going and when everyone cheered he said "that's how I felt that it's going!" Flans introduced the last Sunday of every month concept and then joked about the tall people in the crowd standing at the side due to their tremendous height and considerateness, a subtle joke at the expense of a very tall fan standing right in front, I believe. Flans said they had a fantastic show that they had been rehearsing for a day and joked about  it being an adult crowd so the swear words would come later. Linnell added in that bawdy language and adult humor were also coming. "We're very risqué when it's an adult show." To which Flans replied, "Bosoms." Just that. Linnell said they had a lot of bosom jokes prepared if we could handle it. "Old timey bosom jokes," added Flans.

After playing Number Three, Linnell re-started the banter with a joke, "So these two bosoms walk into a bar.... I don't remember the punch line of that one." Flans comment on the "kick ass" three part harmonies on the previous song and complimented Dan "the undisputed king of stage left.""When will his hegemony be threatened?" queried Linnel. "It will not!" stated Flans. Flans strummed on his guitar a bit and then said he was thinking about all the opening acts. Someone in the audience shouted that they had sucked. Linnell disagreed and said they were all good. Flans said that they had opened before. Someone asked if it had sucked. "We sucked," said Flans. Linnell added that according to the response they had sucked, which Flans demonstrated by displaying double middle fingers in a "rainbow motion" which he then flipped over to demonstrate a windshield wiper. "No, thank you," he intoned. "It's raining now. The windshield wipers are on." And then he noticed that someone was taking his picture and said that was going to be hard to explain to his mom. "No, it's not both fingers, Mom."

Linnell introduced Letterbox as being a hearty "Yo!" from Flood and they certain performed it with a bit of "yo!," so much so that Dan's acoustic guitar got knocked over at the end of the song. Whoops.  Flans introduced the fact that they were going to be be playing tracks from the new Dial-A-Song, by way of introducing Erase. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest songs they have yet released on DAS and it is a good rocker when performed live.

They slipped back into familiar territory with The Mesopotamians, but Linnell forgot to sing the verse about sharing gum. He noted this afterward and that is "wasn't a good verse anyway." They followed this with Older, which I actually haven't heard in a while, and then We're the Replacements which I always love hearing live.

Prior to the show, Flans had tweeted that they would be playing five songs they had never played live before and I guess he must have been counting Hate the Villanelle, even though they have played it live twice. He introduced it saying that they had played it once before in a public forum but would now being playing it without so many fuck ups. Apparently he doesn't consider the Ask Me Another performance to be a "public forum." Linnell said that whatever they played tonight would be the correct version, and Flans told the audience to get their paper wikipedias out. To be honest, I thought the last performance of it was stronger, but not having heard a recorded version yet, I can't really say which is definitive.

Linnell introduced the next song as an old one which turned out to be Spiraling Shape. We'd heard them sound checking it from outside, so not a total surprise, but man it sounded great. Danny really nailed the bass part and the whole thing just sounded spectacular.

Flans explained the Dial-A-Song concept more thoroughly, adding that the telephone number was now toll free. He said that if anyone knew the people who have the old 718 number to please tell them there were no hard feelings, "we just don't want to talk about it in a public forum." He introduced the next song as the next upcoming DAS, Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2, and said that it could have been called Music Jail "parts" one and two but there was a typo. Linnell joked that that name was taken. Flans said the guys that had that name would give it back because it meant a lot to them.

I really love Music Jail. It is my favorite of the DAS tracks thus far and it sounds awesome live. So much going on musically. The constant switches in beat and the inserted pauses. And the swap from one song into another mid song is a little reminiscent of With the Dark.

They followed this with Fingertips, this time without any of the silly add-ons or messing about that they tend to do. Just a straight up performance.

Flans said he had recently watched a video of Oliver Reed arguing with Shelley Winters and realized retroactively, that the next song, Madam, I Challenge You to A Duel, was written about that video. Linnell made some jokes about it, commenting that he was more in a position to agree with Flans' assessment since he knew what the song was, unlike the audience. This song is a little slow for my taste but I can appreciate the irony of it.

The band left the stage while Flans and Linnell did the duo version of Istanbul, though they were a little slow to depart as both Dans stopped to tune. Flans teased them about this and said they were tuning now so that they could make a stronger impression when they returned.There was much humorous back and forth on the "take me back/no" interlude of Istanbul. That never gets old.

Another surprise that was tipped off by being outside the venue early was the presence of the Tricerachops Horns, who joined the band for Turn Around. And then they played Man, It's So Loud In Here again to my everlasting delight. Still adjusting to the new arrangement but I like the way they have fit the horns into it and I will take it any way I can get it after waiting so gosh darn long to hear it. I'll be curious to see if it stays in the set when they don't have the horns with them.

They followed this with Cloisonné with the horns, in a version much closer to the original arrangement on the album. Linnell played on his contra bass clarinet that he had debuted at Mohegan Sun. Flans introduced the instrument in a humorous way that I don't quite recall, unfortunately. Linnell seemed to be having a little trouble getting it situated for comfortable playing during the performance, but the song still sounded wonderful.

They introduced Doctor Worm as a song about a worm who was a doctor and when the audience cheered, Linnell added "no, not that song, a different one." Dan Levine really hammed this one up, running up onto the drum riser and playing his big trombone note straight up in the air on a bass trombone. And despite illness, Danny still managed a seriously impressive leap off the drum riser, launching right out of the frame of my photo. The show must go on and upwards, it would seem!

One of the nicest parts of having the horns is always getting to hear Museum of Idiots, almost without fail. But the last several times I have seen them play this there has been this funny moment at the beginning where Linnell seems to forget that Danny starts the song and Danny has to remind him, which happened again. Silly.

Flans put on his robot Flansburgh voice again for Nanobots. Linnell some point in here had a problem with his earpiece and had to go backstage to have one of the wires reattached. I'm going to claim that as my explanation for why I don't remember any of what Robot Flans was talking about.

Flans also was experiencing some guitar trouble at this point and left the stage for a portion of the song, returning at just the right moment to sing. There was some ugly feedback that kept recurring for several minutes after this point which I think they did finally manage to get under control but it took while.

At some point in here, Linnell also went on a tangent about how the wire on his earpiece kept hitting his neck and making him think it was a bug even though he knew there couldn't be any bugs at this time of year and he did a very humorous miming of his freaked out reaction to thinking there was a bug on him. Flans pointed out that he could tighten the wires and Linnell said no, he was fine, he was enjoying the sensation, though he did then tighten the wire.

Marty turned in another spectacular drumming performance on Call You Mom. I hope that's one of the Nanobots songs that sticks around once they really head into new material.

For me, the best moment of the night was the performance of Authenticity Trip. I knew it was coming because we had heard them soundcheck it but that didn't prepare me for how spectacular a performance it was going to be. I once told someone that I didn't think they would ever successfully be able to play this song live because Flans would never be able to remember all the words, but he nailed it. He totally and absolutely nailed it. I was a little blown away by how good it was.

At the end of the song, Flans asked the boys to start playing it again and used that as background music while introducing the horns. After Dan's solo Flans commented on how nice it was to hear the trombone all by itself, "truly alone in the universe." Flans invited Stan to play a bit more after his first short riff, giving Stan a real opportunity to jam out. And Curt did a lovely solo ending with just silently blowing into the trumpet which was a surprisingly effective ending, though maybe not heard past the first few rows. It always impresses me that these guys are willing to come back and play with TMBG year after year. Curt spends half his year on the road with Bruce Springsteen, and Dan and Stan sit in on sessions with some seriously big names, and yet they still come back whenever they can and gig with the Giants. It has to be something they do just out of sheer enjoyment of playing with them and it's evident in how joyous they are when they are performing.

They finished up the main set with Birdhouse, and another horn staple, Mr. Me. And then the first encore was just a horn powerhouse. While Linnell twiddled with something on the keyboard he told Flans to do some talking and Flans made some jokes about Final Cut Pro, stating that he'd been having Final Cut Pro dreams lately which weren't as much fun as Tetris dreams because you don't win. When Linnell indicated that he was ready, Flans said he was only just getting started on the Final Cut Pro thing, but they proceeded on to With the Dark. Somewhere in this encore I believe, Linnell was also squinting heavily at his setlist and Flans teased him asking "How's that vision working out for you?" Linnell replied that Flans didn't get it since he had his eyes fixed.

They blasted through Hey Mr. DJ, and When Will You Die, and when they returned for the second encore it was just Flans and Linnell. They played How Can I Sing Like A Girl? but Linnell forgot to go to the watchtower verse. He kept playing for a minute while Flans stared and the audience sang the lyrics, and then Flans started talking, saying something about how he usually thought that talking in the middle of a song was phony but in this case it was called for and they joked for a minute or so before Flans told Linnell he wanted to go back to the watchtower verse and they restarted the song (though Linnell had still been playing the accordion the whole time).

Then the band rejoined them for a not recently heard performance of Cyclops Rock, finally ending on a classic with Ana Ng. Marty and Flans came out with stickers, though not new ones, and many of them seemed to be stuck together in wads.

I collected a setlist and picked up the hoodie and the first of a set of five posters that have been created for these shows. And then walked out feeling like the Giants had made a spectacularly triumphant return for 2015. Can't wait to do it again next month!

Photos from the show can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mynameisbluecanary/sets/72157650418141676/