Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tarrytown USA

May 9th found us in Tarrytown, NY for both a family and rock show at The Music Hall. Tarrytown is one of those lovely little towns that actually still has a Main Street with little shops and restaurants and such. The venue was next to a tiny little curio shop and a yarn store. This is exactly the kind of place I would live to live. The parking was a little weird (metered but very long times) and it was funny watching the theater employee outside before the show trying to give people directions on where to park.

5/9/09a #30

While we were waiting to get into the theater we saw one of the techs leave and then re-enter with a brand new broom he seemed to have purchased at a hardware store down the street. Seems they forget to bring a broom with them on which to create Broom. I have wondered from other shows it they actually usually just borrow a broom from the venue because he always seems to have a different face.

5/9/09a #18

The family show featured almost exactly the same setlist as the last family show I attended at LPR but with the addition of John Lee Supertaster which I had not heard live before. It has never been one of my favorites but it is better live than it is recorded.

Setlist: Alphabet of Nations - Seven - I Never Go To Work - Pirate Girls Nine - Istanbul - Apartment Four - E Eats Everything - No! - Clap Your Hands - Paleontologist - Older - Particle Man - Fibber Island/Zilch - Four of Two - Robot Parade - Alphabet Lost and Found - Broom - John Lee Supertaster - WDTSS? - 813 Mile Car Trip - Doctor Worm

This was a seated venue so it was a very relaxed show. The audience only stood when they were asked to and for the encore. Flans asked everyone to remain standing for Paleontologist after Clap Your Hands because they were going to play a new song and it is tradition to stand for a new song (it is??). Then he told everyone to pretend like it was their favorite song and cheer really loudly even though they had never heard it before. Linnell did the dinosaurs a little differently this time but it was just as funny.

I don't remember much of the rest of the show so I will let some pictures speak in my place.

5/9/09a #7

5/9/09a #8

5/9/09a #9


5/9/09a #17


5/9/09a #26


What was really exciting about this day was what happened between the shows. We went to a little Chinese food place that was three doors down from the theater for dinner. It was counter service but they had about six tables inside where you could eat and a few outside. We were about half way through our meal when I caught sight of Marty out of the corner of my eye (my back was to the door). We had seen him and his family outside the theater after the show and they had apparently come into the same restaurant we were eating in to get food. I could see my boyfriend's eyes growing large and he was just giving me this look like "you wont believe who is behind you" and I heard Flansburgh's voice discussing what they should order. I was too terrified to turn around but all I knew was some portion of the band was now seated about two feet behind me. I didn't even know how many of the guys were there because I was afraid to ask my boyfriend, in case they heard me. We basically didn't talk again until we left the restaurant. I think we were afraid we might give ourselves away as fans (though it was probably obvious from my hoodie.

I tried very hard to be polite and not eaves drop but we did hear Flans saying something about needing to order more confetti and a very cute conversation he tried to have with Marty's little girl who was refusing to eat. We finished our meal long before they did and when we got up to leave I realized that Danny was with them as well. So I can sort of say that I ate dinner with 3/5 of the band! They were hanging around on the sidewalk outside the restaurant later while we were waiting to get back into the theater and a few fans stopped to talk to Danny, who didn't seem to mind, but I am far too chicken for such things.

We had seats on the end of the second row for the evening show (specifically purchased for their easy out access should we be invited to approach the stage). The opener was Jedediah Parish, a sort of folky rock singer/guitar player. He was quite good and his banter was funny. He did a song about a train I especially liked and had a funny joke about searching for his name on iTunes which I don't remember properly.

When TMBG came out we were invited to came stage side right after the first song and we got a great spot right in front of the keyboard. Only down side was I couldn't see Marty at all. He was completely behind the keyboard and Linnell's legs. Linnell had on the best, geekiest T-shirt with the molecular structure for caffeine on it. I want one.

5/9/09b #36

Setlist: Twisting - Fingertips - Mesopotamians - Cyclops Rock - Withered Hope - Memo - Don't Let's Start - Dinner Bell - Asbury Park - Seven - Dr. Worm - The Guitar - Clap Your Hands - Ana Ng - Istanbul - Hey Mr. DJ - New York City - Birdhouse - WDTSS? and WDTSRS? - Damn Good Times - Drink! - Particle Man - She's An Angel - Sleepwalkers

If I remember correctly this is the other show I saw where Dan climbed up on the speakers for the end of Fingertips. They were quite high but he didn't seem concerned. He did need help getting down though.

Marty "was wrecking his best shit" during the band intros to quote Flans. I think it was the second best I have seen him do. And I could see him for the only time in the show because Linnell stepped to the side and I could squat and look under the keyboard at him.

5/9/09b #26

Danny caught me taking a picture of him at one point which always makes me nervous. I was sort of hoping he'd make a funny face for me like I have seen him do in other fan photos but he just stared. I am really addicted to my camera at shows and I am always paranoid that I am annoying either the band or other people in the audience. I try to be very good and never use flash and don't hold the camera over my head so people can't see. I've turn off all the camera's external lights which makes it harder to focus but I figure irritates the band less. I try not to use the camera in venues that don't permit it (though I did sneak some pictures at one show while no one was looking). I'm just terrified that the band is going to think of me as "that annoying girl with the camera," if they ever think of me at all. Not to mention the other people in the audience. Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up taking pictures I forget to enjoy the show. I think that may be why I don't remember this show very well even though it wasn't that long ago.

On another Danny related note. I LOVE his red pants. They are the best pants ever. He should wear them at every show except then they wouldn't be special and cool. That is all.

5/9/09b #13

I apologize that I don't remember any of the good banter from these shows. If I think of anything later I'll add it in. They were both excellent shows and these write-ups don't do them justice. Hopefully the photos will speak for themselves.

5/9/09b #23


5/9/09b #10


5/9/09b #8


5/9/09b #7

It is my intention to blog the last May LPR show and my June triple hit weekend tomorrow and then my one July show on Wednesday. Don't know if that will happen since I also need to pack for the trip out to New York. We'll see. Only one more day until I leave, two before the first show!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pachycephalosaurus?

Another double feature family show/rock show at LPR on March 28th. The family show was billed as being in celebration on their recent Grammy win (YAY!). Much less trouble getting there this time. We still chose to stand in back since the view was so good over all the people sitting and we were ensured of no one in front of us because the club had set up barriers between the seated families and the folks standing in back.

While we were waiting inside the club for the doors to open Dan Miller came out a side door in the lobby and hit my boyfriend with the door. He apologized very politely and it didn't hurt much but it made for a great Facebook status update, "just got hit with a door by Dan Miller." Heehee.

Setlist: 813 Mile Car Trip - I Am A Paleontologist - Alphabet of Nations - Pirate Girls Nine - Seven - Istanbul - Apartment Four - E Eats Everything - No! - Clap Your Hands - Particle Man - Doctor Worm - Alphabet Lost and Found - Fibber Island/Zilch - Four of Two - Broom - One Dozen Monkeys - Never Go To Work - WDTSS?

3/28/09a #2

My entire memory of this show is eclipsed by the premiere of I Am A Paleontologist. I believe I have stated before that I love everything that Danny does and boy do I love this song, from the first time I heard the opening chords. I also really love that he plays bass while singing since he usually plays guitar when he does Where Do They Make Balloons? The song has the perfect mix of rock and silly and Linnell reading off dinosaur names was priceless. I don't have any pictures of it though, because everyone stood up and I couldn't see. I spend hours, after they started doing this live, watching YouTube videos of it at various concerts trying to sort out the lyrics for TMBW so I already knew it by heart by the time Science came out. Fortunately, I don't think I will ever tire of it.

Also new to this show, Fibber Island led directly into the Monkees' song Zilch. Linnell, Flans, Dan and Danny each took a part and went faster and faster until they couldn't manage it anymore. It went off pretty well, though I can never hear Danny when they do it. That may be mostly because he is one of the last to start. It sounds kind of like a train if they get it going right and it got a lot of laughs from the parents. I think the kids were kind of confused.

3/28/09a #28

Broom was pretty funny, going on about his next gig at Pianos. He made Linnell laugh a lot. Hannah was back to sing One Dozen Moneys again. She really is quite talented.

3/28/09a #36


3/28/09a #40

This was a pretty short set with only one encore. Curt was back to rock the solo in I Never Go To Work. They did talk about the Grammy win a little bit but didn't say anything memorable enough for me to remember (the quote from one of the official newspaper reviews is "It's an honor just to win"). Seriously, the whole section of my brain devoted to this show is just going "diggin, diggin, diggin, diggin."

We tried to get a setlist after the show but there was nobody around giving them out. We did get to see Marty hanging out afterwards with his family but didn't say anything to him (I never want to bother him when he's with his kids). I do have to say though, without trying to be creepy at all, Marty has the one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen. I've seen the family at a bunch of shows and that little boy is just adorable!

We went to get pizza again between shows then went back to waiting in line. Got to see most of the band leaving the venue between shows, presumably to seek out food but oddly, did not see many of them return (though they did all manage to sneak back in.)

The theme for the evening show was Venue Songs which was cool since I hadn't seen many of them performed before. They had invited their friend Joshua Fried to appear as an opening act and read the narration for the Venue Songs.

Fried's act Joshua Fried's Radio Wonderland is one of those things that you might be really skeptical of when reading about it but it is actually is quite awesome. He has a set up with a steering wheel and upside-down shoes rigged as drums, attached to his laptop and a boombox (which he entered carrying on his shoulder). He finds a song on the radio (which was a bit difficult in the basement club) samples it into the laptop, mixes it up, then uses the shoes to provide percussion and the steering wheel to control the sound. He turned Better in Time, I Will Survive and even a commercial into nifty techno beats and had the whole audience bobbing. He was also bobbing quite a bit on stage. It was fun to see the audience move from confusion to grooving in just a few minutes. Startlingly good. He only played with three or four loops before he finished but he was definitely a success.

Joshua Fried #5

TMBG did a few songs to warm up for the Venue Songs set: West Virginia, New York City, She's An Angel, Ana Ng, They Might Be Giants, WDTSS? and WDTSRS?, Subliminal, My Evil Twin and Unsupervised. I had never seen They Might Be Giants outside a Flood show so that was fun. Subliminal made me deliriously happy. And I had never seen My Evil Twin outside the Apollo 18 show either. Flans asked Linnell to do the spoken part on WDTSS? again but when Linnell got to the section he started talking about how he had watched The Three Faces of Eve the night before and how he had really wanted to find a way to work it into the show but hadn't figured out how yet, and then never did any nuclear reactions. It was really funny because no one else had seen the film so no one knew what he was talking about.

3/28/09b #5

Every time they made a mistake Flans would cry "Celebration!" as a signal to stop and try again. Apparently, this was something they had worked out for the family show to avoid saying "this show is killing me inside" (or really to avoid swearing, probably). I think they only used it once or twice in the afternoon but it appeared several times in the evening. It became quite a joke. The really funny thing is they've kept doing it. I've heard them say it at several shows since then.

3/28/09 #7

Joshua Fried almost missed his cue to come on for the Venue Songs narration. I was surprised and pleased to discover that they had adapted the narration from that on the DVD so it wasn't exactly the same. It wasn't even the same as that heard on the recordings from the Venue Songs tour. And it was really funny. Fried did a great job with it, trying to play it really straight even when it was silly, though he did slip and laugh a few times. Linnell was laughing quite a lot. He seemed especially amused by it even though he must have heard it before.

3/28/09b #24

They did not do the Venue Songs in the same order that they appear on the DVD. They also didn't do the Orange Peel one. I didn't realize until after the fact that it wasn't on the recording of the Venue Song tour show that I downloaded either. Kind of sad since it is one of my favorites. I wonder why they don't do it?

3/28/09b #26

The order for this show was Los Angeles - Anaheim - Albany - Dallas - Vancouver - Pittsburgh - Glasgow - Charlottesville - Asbury Park - Brooklyn. They really did write some great songs when they were doing Venue Songs. I find it hard to believe that songs like Los Angeles and Vancouver in particular were written in just a few hours. Just a testament to the band's brilliance I guess. One of the most amusing things about the set was that because the songs were so short Linnell didn't bother taking off the accordion while he was playing keyboard on at least one of the songs. He just leaned over to play with it still strapped to him. I wonder if he can play both at once?

3/28/09b #21

They finished out the show with Older - Withered Hope - Seven - Four of Two - Drink! - Experimental Film and The Mesopotamians. Dan went up and stood on Marty's drum stand for Older and wacked Marty in the back with the neck of his guitar.

3/28/09b #28

For encores they did Museum of Idiots (YAY!) - Spy - Birdhouse - Clap Your Hands and Doctor Worm. It was really funny that they chose to do Spy because I had just been complaining to my boyfriend that I hadn't seen it. We keep a list of all the songs each of us had seen and of all the songs he had seen that I haven't, Spy was the one he had seen the most that I hadn't seen at all (he'd seen it seven times prior to this). The most embarrassing part was I didn't even recognize it when it started so I didn't know what he was talking about when he poked me and asked, "Happy now?" Stan Harrison knocked the sax solo on Spy out of the park. It was phenomenal. The song led into Linnell conducting the audience, the horns and the band in making various bits of noise and music before Flans took over and really got pretty silly with it pointing to one group, then another and back again, trying to confuse everyone. And Linnell had the craziest expression on his face every time Flans pointed to him. A good bit of goofiness to round out the show.

3/28/09b #50

The didn't play LPR in April because Marty had to do something with his family. And I couldn't get to the shows they did do in April because I had to go to a bridal shower that day, so nothing in April for me. They were back in May for one last LPR experience. But there is another double feature show in Tarrytown, NY between us and that show. Coming soon (as it my next show, only 2 more days!).

As always, more pictures of these shows can be found on my Flickr page. Link on the right.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stare Into The Subliminal

February 28th at LPR. The theme is once again...Flood. It's a really good thing I like this album. The opener is Oppenheimer. Finally, a really, really excellent opening act. They were loud and awesome. There was one song that they played that I particularly loved though I have never learned it's name despite having access to the CD now. Their sound man had gotten food poisoning from a burrito the previous night. Poor guy. I am always impressed by drummers who can sing while they drum and Shaun Robinson does just that. I was amused that Rocky left the voice modulator on his mic even while talking between songs. It was silly.


The first thing I noticed when TMBG came on was Linnell's disastrous new haircut. It was very severe, particularly on the sides and I missed the floppiness. It had been near perfect when they appeared on Conan just a few days earlier. Fortunately, it grew back to a much more pleasing length before the next show.


I will let you form your own opinion.


2/28/09 #14







They opened with Subliminal which was a new one for me. I once scoffed a little bit when I read someone's reaction to hearing Ana Ng at a show. They said they did not realize it was their favorite until they realized they were still holding their breath half way through the song, or something to that effect. At the time I thought, how could you not know it was your favorite song? It wasn't until the band started playing Subliminal at this show that I knew what they meant. I had no idea I loved this song so much. I was just enthralled. I may never hear them play Man, It's So Loud in Here live but I might not mind if they would just keep Subliminal in the rotation.


2/28/09 #4


They followed with It's Kickin' In which was also a first for me. Really great one-two punch start. Then they did Older, Upside Down Frown, Damn Good Times, Bee of the Bird of the Moth, Hey, Mr. DJ and Seven. Then I got another first timer, With the Dark, which sounds really cool live. That also meant I have now heard all of the songs from The Else played live except for Feign Amnesia, which they have never played anyway. They closed out the pre-Flood set with Doctor Worm.


This was a particularly excellent Flood set. The whole band seemed to be in a really silly mood. Dan played what is possibly his best intro to Istanbul I have ever seen. I have just made my very first ever video upload to YouTube in order to share it with you. Just look at how fast his hand is moving at the end. I also really enjoy the way he bobs his head while he plays.










The horns did an excellent outro (in that a word?) to Istanbul too complete with some freaky trumpet playing.


Someone at the last show had been loudly requesting Your Racist Friend and they promised to play it at this show. I hope that person was there to enjoy it.


Linnell started singing Clap for the Wolfman in the middle of Particle Man. Danny and Flans played along with the weird noises on the keyboard as usual. But very unusually, Flans continued playing the keyboard after Particle Man restarted and he went NUTS. He was attacking the keyboard and making wild faces and hammering out all sorts of weird sounds all with his guitar pick in his mouth. Danny even joined back in at the end on the kaoss pad. Thank goodness, I have photographic evidence. It was insane! Incidentally, the guy whose video camera is in the photo has a great video of the whole thing up on YouTube if you care to seek it out.


2/28/09 #28

 Flans could not seem to get the "little bird" line of Letterbox out tonight. He just kept mumbling. He also had to be reminded, by the audience I might add, to get his drum for Whistling in the Dark. He said that the worst thing about doing these album shows in that everyone knows what's coming next and yells at you if you don't do it fast enough. He makes the most amusing faces while trying to hold that drum up and play.


2/28/09 #31


At some point in the show they started talking about Tom Poston again. This was either the second or third time this conversation has been reprised. The initial story was at Lupo's but then I think they brought it up again the next night at LPR and were talking about it as if everyone there knew what they were talking about. They eventually went back and explained it again. Then I think, it came up again at this show except this time without any explanation so people who had not been at the other shows were completely in the dark. I may be misremembering and the last two incidents may have been the same but it was funny either way.


When discussing themes for the next show they announced an Every Album in sequence show for 2012. I would so be there for that.


For the first encore they did Maybe I Know, Los Angeles, and Drink! The second encore was S-E-X-X-Y with Linnell on clarinet again and The Guitar.


2/28/09 #38

This show was a great example of how two people can have completely different experiences at the same show. I loved this show but my boyfriend was driven completely crazy by an obnoxious guy behind him (whom I was oblivious to) for pretty much the whole show so he really couldn't enjoy it as much. A PSA for show goers everywhere: by all means, sing along, but please do not sing a different song than the band is singing or sing while the band is talking. Please? It's just not cool. Thanks.


Shamrockium, Lepreconium and Lucky Shannanigans

January 31, 2009 we got up early to head to NYC for a double feature TMBG day. Family show in the afternoon, rock show at night, both at LPR. We had a ridiculous series of travel problems getting there, first getting separated on the train, then accidently getting on an express train and overshooting our stop. Then there was construction coming back the other way so we had to overshoot again and turn around before we finally got to the right place. By the time we got there the doors had been open for 45 minutes and I was sure we were going to be stuck in the back and not be able to see. But inside LPR all of the parents and kids had chosen to sit on the floor. So even though we stood at the back we had a perfect view to the stage (the place just isn't that big). As my boyfriend said, even if someone got up to dance it didn't matter because they were very short! We were standing right in front of the VIP area so got to see numerous family members of the band. It seemed like everyone had brought their kids. It was also funny watching how many people accidently walked back stage thinking it was the bathroom. And it was just funny in general seeing kids in a night club. But the staff were so into the whole family show concept. They had a stroller check and there were milk and cookies being served at the bar. It was adorable.


Setlist:


1/31/09a #9


Alphabet of Nations had one of the best Guatemala's yet.


Pirate Girls Nine featured Dan Levine on Euphonium, "the small competitive friend of the tuba, enemy of the trombone."


All the horns came out for Seven. Curt Ramm was not with them at this show. Instead they had a trumpet player named Scott Harrell. He was good but was not Curt. Curt, it seems, was playing with Springsteen at the Superbowl. I guess he can be forgiven for missing a TMBG show for that. Flans amusingly forgot Scott's last name at one point. He was introducing the horns again and said "once again, Stan "The Optimist" Harrison on the sax, Scott.....on the trumpet, and Dan "The Machine" Levine of the trombone.


I Never Go to Work was introduced as the musician's anthem because they never go to work.


Marty came out to do Alphabet Lost and Found and did the obligatory crazy, escaped drummer dancing. I never, ever get tired of watching him dance or fall down on the floor. He even moved too fast for my camera.


1/31/09a #5


Clap Your Hands had definitely dropped the screaming by this show and replaced it with more clapping.


Hannah Levine was there to sing One Dozen Monkeys. Flans' version is amusing but it was nice to hear the real thing and she was great. She had some trouble getting the mic to be short enough for her which was cute.


Flans had to introduce Four of Two because Linnell declared himself the band liar.


I love Where Do They Make Balloons? Actually, I love everything that Danny does.


Broom was amusing as always and was talking about his next gig that he had booked.


They decided to sing WDTSS? in pirate voices which lasted most of the way through until it got to the nuclear reactions and Flans told Linnell to do them. By then he had morphed into an Irish accent and declared that "the heat and light of the sun are caused by nuclear reactions between Shamrockium, Lepreconium and Lucky Shannanigans." Brilliant!!


813 Mile Car Trip was mislabeled as 814 on the setlist which was very easy to get after the show because the kids didn't care.


There was more discussion of their Grammy nomination and they said if they won they would be free to make inferior music. Looking back on it, it was sad because from the way he was talking about it, Flans seemed so excited about going to the ceremony and then he didn't end up being able to go. Life's timing is just crappy sometimes.


1/31/09a #1


We went to get some pizza before the next show, then stood in line in very cold weather for about an hour and a half until the doors re-opened. The best part about already being there for the early show is that we got really close to the front of the line and actually got a spot stage-side for the one and only time in the eight shows we saw at LPR. We were standing right at Dan Miller's feet. I was actually leaning on the foot of his mic stand before the show started. And I accidently discovered that our camera, which we had had for several years has a zoom feature that we never knew about. So I was able to get some pretty decent photos.


Remember the story from the last show about the picture of the people playing guitar and the guy on the end with the kazoo? Well randomly, as we were waiting for the show to start, the person standing next to me handed me two copies of that picture signed by the Johns (the signatures had been reproduced too but still cool) and told me to take one and pass it down (I gave the other to my boyfriend). They didn't seem to know where they had come from any more than I did (though I later found out that another fan had bought it on eBay, had the Johns sign it and made copies for everyone). It was really cool.


Spray Paint Star opened again. Their act was identical except that this time there was a security guard trying to get the "drunk" guy off the stage (not sure if that was planned or if the guard hadn't been let in on the joke). At least at this show they announced that they were playing their last song so people weren't as confused when the guy dropped dead on the stage.


Spray Paint Star #2


Spray Paint Star #3


The theme for this show was once again Every Album and though that did not include any Mono Puff or State Songs this time around it was one of the most incredible sets I have seen. There were so many songs I hadn't heard live before. And from where we were standing we could see Dan's setlist so we knew if was going to be awesome before they even started playing.


Sleepwalkers - Ana Ng - We Live in a Dump - Wicked Little Critta - See the Constellation - Apartment Four - Take Out the Trash - Snail Shell - New York City - Asbury Park - Cowtown - Dig My Grave - Particle Man - Bee of the Bird - Meet James Ensor - Puppet Head - Older - E Eats Everything - Don't Let's Start - James K. Polk - Lucky Ball and Chain - The End of the Tour - Pet Name - Mesopotamians - Maybe I Know - Famous Polka - Twisting - Museum of Idiots - Clap Your Hands - Istanbul


The show was plagued by technical problems. Lala was running the board at the front and was really having trouble (oddly, I have never seen him again after this show - I hope those two things aren't related). They couldn't seem to get all the mics and instruments adjusted right. Linnell's mic was completely drowned out during Ana Ng and he kept gesturing for it to be turned up but Lala kept misunderstanding and playing with the keyboard instead until the song was over and Linnell stood there pointing emphatically at his mic. Danny seemed to be taking point on getting things fixed and he spend so much of the beginning of the show gesturing to the techs on the opposite side of the stage to fix various things, they should have just moved him over. It must have been very frustrating for the band but, I am sorry to say, it was kind of funny to watch. They did more or less get everything working by the end.


Pictures do not necessarily accompany the discussed songs (though some do). I just picked the best ones.


1/31/09b #2


I don't remember a single word of banter from this one, only the music. I was stoked to see Cowtown, having missed it the last time they played it at LPR.


1/31/09b #4


I had never heard Puppet Head live before. Now if they will just play Purple Toupee at a show I will have seen all of what I consider to be the BIG hits live.


1/31/09b #6


I had heard that they had played End of the Tour and Museum of Idiots at the show previous to this one which I wasn't able to go to and I was really hoping they would play them again since they are two of my favorites. I was all but jumping out of my shoes when I saw them on Dan's list. Museum of Idiots in particular I really identify with. It was one of the first TMBG songs I really loved.


1/31/09b #10


Pet Name, as I have learned is traditional, was played in total darkness.


While Dan was tuning his acoustic guitar before Istanbul, Flans sang a little song about it which he had to change halfway through when Dan had to switch to electric because there was something wrong with the acoustic. I could not believe how fast Dan's hand was moving during the solo. You can really get an idea of it from the picture.


1/31/09b #11


Really excellent show despite the technical problems. Tomorrow, more Flood. Only four days!!


More pictures from both these shows are can be seen on my Flickr site. The link is in the Essential Sites box on the right. All photos there are sorted by show.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Radio! TV! Contest! Oh, My!

TMBG were on two radio programs today. WAMC's Performance Place which can be heard here and NPR's Science Friday which you can hear here. Both appearances feature interviews and live performances. The WAMC show talks a lot about the upcoming show at The Egg and has a spectacularly failed performance of The Egg venue song for your amusement.

The band will also be on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on October 6th, and if you are over 18 and can be in NYC on that day you can enter to win tickets to sit on the "Band Bench" here. Make sure you enter the code TMB.

There is an interesting article that discusses the new genre of "Kindie" music for kids and mentions TMBG that can be found here. I particularly like the quote about Tom Clancy.

Free The Lizard People!

First off, if you have not heard Jonathan Coulton or Paul & Storm, I suggest you visit their respective websites immediately.



Seriously, what are you still doing here?




Ok, now that you are back and you are totally sold on both acts, if you ever get the opportunity to see them live, GO! Do not hesitate. Do not go to your cousin's birthday party instead. Shell out your $20, line up with all the other geeks and prepare to have a marvelous time (and laugh yourself silly). I may even see you there.

Seriously though, they were fantastic. Paul & Storm opened and did several very silly, geeky songs including their TMBG parody If They Might Be Giants Were the Ice Cream Man. Then Jonathan Coulton came on and was awesome. He sang some stuff on his own and he sang some stuff with Paul & Storm including a cover of a little song you may have heard of called Birdhouse in Your Soul. There were pirates and zombies and everything was wonderful and it ended too soon. Sigh.

We will now rejoin our program, already in progress.

...show was of special significance to my boyfriend since it was at his old stomping ground, Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI where he had seen TMBG numerous times in his teen years. We had a bit of trouble parking and were quite early, having intended to find food before the show. Unfortunately, the only thing in the area that was open was a Dunkin Donuts. By the time we got in line, it was quite long (partially because I misinterpreted where the line was and stood in the wrong place for a while). It being January 30th, it was also bitterly cold but we didn't have to wait too long before doors.

I have to admit, I lied slightly. I forgot that I don't actually have pictures from this show as cameras were not allowed. But there are pictures for everything after this.

We ended up roughly in the middle of the room, several rows of people back from the stage. The inside of Lupo's had apparently been completely re-done since the last time my boyfriend had been there, to the point of being almost unrecognizable (the band actually commented on this as well).

Our vantage point included a view of the stages and balconies backstage so I got to watch the comings and goings of the opening act before the show. I also ran into several of the ladies from the group in the bathroom applying make-up. This was by far the STRANGEST band I have ever seen. It was called Spray Paint Star and was primarily made up of people who had played in Hedwig and the Angry Inch with guest appearances from several members of the Loser's Lounge. It was really much more like watching a bizarre musical than a rock show. And yes, almost every song they sang was about spray paint. They started with a number about the New York subway system which sounded promising and was actually decent. The lead singer was even dressed as a conductor. But from that point on it got weird. During the next number there was a guy who kept wandering onto the stage from the wings, pretending to be drunk. He eventually joined the band and sang a song with them (the idea was, you were supposed to think he was just a drunk audience member who ended up on stage and I'll admit they briefly fooled me). They were eventually also joined by a woman dressed in a sort of medieval style dress who was supposed to be some kind of messenger from above. There was a song about King Tut that they put on Egyptian Headdresses for and several others that I have blocked. At the end of their set, the lead singer fell down dead on the stage and it took the audience a while to figure out that they were done playing.

This was a really fantastic TMBG show despite the weirdo opener. The only down side was the incredibly drunk girls who forced their way in front of us before the beginning of the show. Two of them were not too bad but they weren't doing a very good job keeping tabs on the third girl who was GONE. She was falling over onto people (a tiny Japanese girl almost got crushed but was saved at the last minute by her friend) and waving her arms about and just being a obnoxious. I felt very bad for the couple who had been first in line to get in and were right up front. They got stuck talking to the girl and once the show started they were so bothered by her they ended up leaving (or at least moving to the back). The girls finally did end up leaving, or at least moving before the end of the show and I think everyone around us let out a silent cheer.

The TMBG set was as follows: Sleepwalkers - Ana Ng - Damn Good Times - WDTSS? and WDTSRS? - Withered Hope - Drink! - Wicked Little Critta - Take Out the Trash - Istanbul - Dead - Alphabet of Nations - Seven - Doctor Worm - Meet James Ensor - Famous Polka - Older - See the Constellation - Birdhouse - The Guitar - Clap Your Hands - Don't Let's Start - Spider - New York City - Mesopotamians - Fingertips - Particle Man - Maybe I Know - James K. Polk

The set really played like a greatest hits list. I don't think I have been to any other show where they played that many of their most popular songs all together. And they were in such a good mood and just being silly :-)

The venue was REALLY cold and the band commented about it several times. They eventually turned off their giant fans and Flans said that was the first time they had ever had to turn them off because it was too cold. At one point he asked Iggy to turn on the "KFC warming lights," the big orange ones across the top of the stage, so that we could all warm up. We had a few blissful seconds of warmth and Flans offered us free tanning.

There was an area to stage left on the second floor that had floor to ceiling bars and Flans kept referring to the people watching the show through them as the "Lizard People" and calling for their release. He even dedicated a song to their release and they came up repeatedly throughout the show.

This was my first time hearing Sleepwalkers live. Little bit of an odd song to start with but I really like it. It was kind of like the calm before the storm of awesome that was to follow.

Flans seemed to be preparing for the family show the next day by getting all his swearing done tonight, particularly while introducing WDTSRS?

Really good rendition of Alphabet of Nations. Linnell did an excellent Guatemala which is always my favorite part of the song.

Best performance of Older/Confetti EVER! They shot off the canons between two of the lines near the end and then froze to watch as the confetti arced high into the air before falling...and falling...and falling...and falling. This was not normal confetti. This was EPIC confetti! And the whole time the band was frozen on stage just watching it. Marty was poised over the drum with his big mallet raised over his head like he had been caught in a game of freeze tag and he just stood like that for over a minute. I don't think he even blinked (and he had a great expression on his face). The confetti never really did stop falling. They did eventually finish the song but throughout the rest of the show pieces of confetti would just fall randomly from the air and even the guys said it was the best confetti they had ever seen. Apparently it was not their regular confetti, it was some provided by the venue. Their's had gotten wet (Flans made a joke about it not occurring to them that the confetti that had been sitting in their warehouse for 10 years might not still be good) and was just a big wad when they went to load the cannons. So there was a mix of their multi-colored confetti and Lupo's two-tone SUPER confetti. I REALLY wish I had pictures of this, or better yet video.

I was psyched the Constellation stayed in the rotation after the Apollo 18 show!

Fingertips had a slight lighting snafu (complete lack there off) during a portion that prompted Linnell to sing "I found a new friend, under total darkness."(Thanks to the person on TMBW whose write-up reminded me of that, I had forgotten and it was one of my favorite silly moments of the show). After a few shows without it, Dan revived the Where's Dan? segment at the end of the song by climbing on top of a set of very high speakers to play his solo. He seemed to make the security and tech guys pretty nervous but I'm sure they would have caught him. He did have a sort of funny "how do I get down?" look on his face when he was done.

Particle Man had Elusive Butterfly of Love as it's insert, another new one for me.

Really, really good show. Actually, this was a whole weekend of really good shows (and some ridiculous travel problems on Saturday that all turned out fine but were very frustrating). Double feature LPR show tomorrow. Five days until Ithaca!

Post Write-up Edit: I remembered after I wrote this that this was the show that featured the bizarre on stage conversation about Tom Poston and Suzanne Pleshette from The Bob Newhart show. They were talking about how they didn't like each other when they were doing the show but then had gotten married years later. Then I believe they was discussing them being buried next to each other or something to that effect. It seemed to be something they had read recently but then I think Linnell started making parts of it up. It was truly strange and I had to go back and mention it because it came up again at the February LPR show.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Got Problems

My last show of 2008 was one I wasn't sure we were going to get to go to. It was at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and for the longest time it seemed that it was only going to be open to students. Then, finally a few weeks before the show they opened up tickets to the public.

The show was held in a big hall lined with portraits of old school presidents. It looked like the sort of place that school plays are performed and the acoustics were pretty awful. They had a lot of students working the doors and security all in really neat shirts that had been printed for the show. It was standing room only and we got a spot relatively near the front. They had a rope stretched in front of the stage so you couldn't actually stand by it and there was a line of students standing in front of the stage throughout the show, looking out at the audience. I assume they were supposed to be making sure no one crossed the rope but it looked pretty silly.

They played the Venue Songs DVD on a screen while we were waiting (I can't remember if this was the first time they had done that or if they had done it at the previous show too). I always enjoy it and it seemed like most of the audience hadn't seen it before so it was fun for them too.

The opening act was .357 Lover featuring Corn Mo. I had not seen Corn Mo before but my boyfriend had. With his band he played keyboard the entire time, no accordion. He did several of the same songs he used to do as a solo act but with different arrangements and several new ones. And he was really good, which I seldom get to say about an opening act.

The TMBG portion of the show started with just Dan Miller on stage doing his intro solo to Istanbul (this was labeled in the set list as Dan "Gypsy Man" Miller). The rest of the band joined him just before the main portion of the song began.

I actually really enjoyed the return to a regular show without a theme after so many album shows.
The rest of the setlist was: Hey Mr. DJ, - S-E-X-X-Y - Drink! - Particle Man - Wicked Little Critta - Damn Good Times - Dinner Bell - Seven - The Guitar - Clap Your Hands - Withered Hope - WDTSS? and WDTSRS? - Birdhouse - Take Out the Trash - I'm Impressed - Don't Let's Start - Older - James K. Polk - The Mesopotamians.

For the encores the setlist had them doing Alphabet of Nations and Doctor Worm for the first encore and Ana Ng, Dig My Grave and Robot Parade for the second. They actually ended up doing Robot Parade at the end of the first encore then it seemed like they might not even do a second but eventually they came out and did Fingertips.

Linnell messed up some of the words to Hey, Mr. DJ, flipping some of the lyrics. He also flubbed up Dinner Bell a bit. Nobody cared.

During Particle Man, Linnell started singing a different song in the bridge than I was used to (Dolly Parton's Here You Come Again) which apparently also surprised Danny and Flans. They were positioned by the keyboard waiting for Linnell to direct them on the kaoss pad but the moment never came. He just finished the song and launched back into Particle Man with a rather "ha, I got you" look on his face.

This was the first time I had heard Wicked Little Critta live. Linnell made a mistake with the spoken lines at the end that ended up being even funnier. He forgot the "way to go" line and obviously contemplated for a second about adding it back in out of order but then must have decided that the next line "I got problems" explained it all away. That got a big laugh.

This was the first show I saw after their Grammy nomination for 123s and they had an hysterical conversation about it before performing Seven. They were urging any members of the audience who had ever recorded or worked on an album to join NARAS so that they could vote because they were up against an entire symphony orchestra who would all be voting against them. They also mentioned that one of the other nominees' albums also started with Here Comes so they were going to have to wait until the third word in the announcement before they even knew if they had won. Linnell was describing them halfway out of their chairs and then realizing it wasn't them. In Flans' words "The story of our lives." The best part about it was that underneath all the humor they were obviously so excited about being nominated. They just couldn't stop grinning while they were talking.

I admit I didn't remember this on my own but reading someone else's description on TMBW reminded me that while they were introducing WDTSRS? in reference to WDTSS? being incorrect, Flans said that they "don't have a habit of looking back because what we look back on is often on fire." Fantastic!

I have noticed that they always seem to play Take Out the Trash and I'm Impressed together. I wonder why? Perhaps they just feel they flow nicely.

There were people standing near me wearing Mesopotamians T-shirts that had clearly been waiting all show for the song and they danced around singing like nutters when it started. Very funny to watch. Incidentally there were also people standing near me in costumes. I don't exactly remember what the guy was wearing but the girl was dressed in a vinyl superhero outfit. I think they said they were either coming from or going to a party but it was very odd.

I did get a setlist after the show but with some difficultly. They did not have most of their regular road crew with them at this show (it was a lot of students from the school instead) and they were going around collecting the lists and not giving them out. Most of the fans gave up after a while until it was just us and one other couple. I asked one of the kids if I could have the list taped to Linnell's keyboard and he looked at me oddly and said "It's just a setlist" and walked away. Duh, that's why I want it. Finally I spotted Lala at the back of the stage and caught his attention long enough to ask if I could have the setlist and he told me to just take it off the keyboard, which I did. My boyfriend briefly yelled at me for stealing, before he realized I had gotten permission :-) I still felt bad for the other couple who were still list-less. I don't know how much longer they stuck around or if they ever got one.

I was bummed not to be able to go to the New Year's Eve shows but this was a nice way to round out the year and topped me off at 10 shows for 2008.

From this point on, all the remaining show reports before the road trip will have photo accompaniment as I have pictures from all of them. Road trip reports will depend on camera rules for the various venues. Only six days left! Tiding myself over with a Jonathan Coulton/Paul and Storm show tonight. I haven't seen them before so I am excited.

Just A Guy Made Of Dots And Lines

The second show we attended at Le Poisson Rouge on November 29, 2008 was another Apollo 18 themed show except this time they played the entire album. The initial announcement of the theme had said this was the first time they had played the album in it's entirety but they later issued a correction as they had remembered that they had actually played the whole thing at Joe's Pub a few years earlier.

This was also the first show that we brought a camera to and got some pictures of (not counting some crummy cell phone pictures). It was our old camera, not my nice new one so the pictures aren't great but I will include a few of the better ones.

While this was an excellent show and I really enjoyed it, this was one of the worst experiences I've had as an audience member because of the people standing near me and it started outside.

We got to the venue a bit earlier this time which meant waiting in line longer in the freezing cold. I was really annoyed by the people standing behind us who were speculating about how an Apollo 18 show was going to work and how on earth they were going to manage to play Fingertips live. I wanted to scream at them, "They play it live ALL THE TIME." The girl also really irked me by declaring how much she loved the band and that her favorite song was It's Too Loud. Seriously? If you are that big a fan you should at least know the actual name of the song. I am sure this particularly bothered me since Man, It's So Loud In Here is also my favorite song.

We were a little bit closer to the stage this time having arrived at the venue a little earlier, but otherwise we had pretty much the same view as the last show.

The opening act was the Driver Quartet featuring the very same David Driver who had guested at the last show. He had a guitar player, a keyboard player and a drummer with him. They did a few songs which were mostly enjoyable, particularly one the female keyboard player did about being obsessed with Tina Fey. Driver had some pretty crazy mannerisms while he was singing, a little like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, which made him fun to watch.



Prior to the band coming on I was listening to a very irritating conversation that two guys behind me were having. At first I thought they had come together but later realized they had just started talking because they were next to each other. One of the guys (actually the less annoying one) was telling the other about the last show at LPR except he was talking about all sorts of things that didn't happen at the show. Not sure if he was just misremembering or if he was just making stuff up. Then they couldn't remember the name of the album they had performed at that show (Flood) and spent a while trying to remember (I was afraid to tell them for fear of being sucked into the conversation) before turning to the guy behind them and asking him (he knew). Then they were asking him what album they had played at the first show at LPR and it took them a while to understand that it hadn't been an album show. Next the conversation turned to a band (I think it was The Who but I'm not sure) that was in town to play some rich guy's birthday party and wondering how much they were being paid for that which led to a discussion about how much TMBG is paid for a show. So they turned back to their "friend" behind them to get his opinion. The really funny part about it was that the guy they were talking to was Jon Altschuler, the recording engineer that Flans had introduced at the last show as coming up with the idea for WDTSRS? but they had no idea. So he's just trying to be polite and give them some vague answers without letting on that he actually works with the band. I really felt bad for him getting stuck talking to the idiots.

It was worse once TMBG came on, because the more annoying of the two guys kept singing along with all the older songs very loudly and badly (and not always getting the words right) and kept bumping into my boyfriend and I. Then during the banter he kept shouting at the band while they were trying to talk to play Everything Right Is Wrong Again, over and over. Every time they played something new off The Else or one of the kid's albums he actually booed and yelled at them to play old stuff. At least during the new songs he couldn't sing along because he didn't know the words. I have to admit, I really don't remember as much about the actual concert because he was so distracting and obnoxious. If I had more guts I would have turned around and told him to shut up.

TMBG opened with Space Suit and then announced that we were only 7 songs away from Apollo 18. Immediately after Space Suit Linnell announced that he was switching to the keyboard because his accordion was "fucked up" (said in a very sing-songy voice). Apparently some of the treble keys had fallen off. He then had to play the rest of the show on keyboard which was very odd to see on songs that are always done on accordion. Flans suggested he put the keyboard on the accordion synth which Linnell had apparently not thought of and he did (after much squinting to see which was the right button to push).




They trucked through Damn Good Times and West Virginia with very little banter. Then Flans told a story before Why Does the Sun Really Shine? about how he had mentioned in an interview that the new science album discussed evolution. Then the next day their management had informed him that a woman on MySpace had written them a letter and was "super mad" about it. Apparently she even had TMBG has part of her MySpace name so she was a real fan (Linnell said "she's probably here"). They thought it was pretty ridiculous that she was angry about being reminded about what is taught in schools and said that the science album was really the Mouse House sending them on a "cultural suicide mission." There was also a funny aside to a guy video taping the story, when Flans said he would kill him if he put the video on MySpace.

Unsupervised, Withered Hope, Istanbul and Hey, Mr. DJ closed out the pre-Apollo countdown.

The Apollo 18 set was excellent because so many of those songs are seldom played and thus this was only the second time I had heard them (many of them I haven't heard since). They also played all the tracks they hadn't played at Mohegan like Space Suit and Hall of Heads. See the Constellation was the highlight of my night, not the least because the audience knew to provide the "heys" without being prompted.

If I Wasn't Shy featured the dueling clarinets of Linnell and Stan Harrison. Most excellent.



They reprised Space Suit at the end of the show, this time with Linnell on keyboard and featuring Dan Miller's finger on the kaoss pad.



For the encores they did S-E-X-X-Y, Doctor Worm, Drink! and The Mesopotamians (which made obnoxious guy very angry and me very happy).

At some point near the end of the show, they were discussing what they should do for a theme at the next show (Flans tried to convince Linnell that they were actually having the conversation later backstage) and Flans suggested doing something they used to do back in the early days where they would have people bring their own guitars and invite them on stage to play a song. They apparently had chords displayed and a guy with a pointer but it was usually a spectacular failure. Linnell said someone had shown him a picture of one of those shows with a whole bunch of people on stage with guitars and this one guy on the end with a recorder. The story was funny at the time but has more significance at the next show.

I had another kind of crummy audience experience after the show which turned out to mostly be a misunderstanding but still really put a damper on my night. So excellent show, partially ruined by one obnoxious guy and some other minor irritations.

Here is the best pic I got that night. There are several more pictures available here but none of them are great. I think out of almost 100 taken, there were only 22 even worth posting. Thank goodness for the new camera.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's a Brand New Record For 1990

I have seen four full performances of Flood and am about to see many more as there are several Flood shows on the road trip. The first one remains the best (at least for now).

October 24th, 2008 - Calvin Theater - Northampton, MA

We had front row seats for the Calvin Theater, however, there is about 20 feet between the front row and the stage so it is purposefully designed for people to stand by the stage in front of the seats so the front row seats were pretty moot. There were already quite a few people lined up by the stage when we got there so we got a spot on the far right in front of the speakers.

Just before the show started a young guy pushed his way through the crowd so he was standing right next to me and proceeded to pile his bag and about six layers of clothing onto the side of the stage. He was obviously high on something, as he kept twitching and scratching at various parts of his body as if he was trying to brush away bugs, between spells of standing staring at the floor or at nothing at all. He also smelled as though he hadn't bathed in several weeks. He was only mildly annoying at first but once the show started he climbed up on the edge of the stage and started taking pictures. Got a bit distracting. Then he actually started standing up on the side of the stage to take pictures. VERY distracting. It took a surprisingly long time for the theater staff to notice him and make him get down too. He stayed nearby for a while longer but eventually moved behind us and stopped bothering me. He didn't look like he was enjoying the show at all so I am not sure what he was doing there.

The show opened with the Critic Intro as featured on Then: The Early Years. I am always amused by the inclusion of Orson Bean among the reviewers. Only time I have ever heard it at a show though. They started by explaining that they would be playing two sets, the first of which would be Flood in it's entirety, in order, followed by a regular rock set. They also pointed out that they knew that the songs were in order because they were using liner notes from Flood cassettes in lieu of setlists (or at least the Johns were). This led to lots of squinting from Linnell while he attempted to read the tiny liner without his glasses.

The Flood set was AMAZING. Despite what they have said at subsequent Flood shows this is the only time I've seen them play the album actually in order (every other time they flip Twisting and We Want a Rock so that Linnell doesn't have to keep swapping accordion for keyboard). It was weird starting a show with songs that usually end a show, namely Birdhouse and Istanbul but they were both excellent. There are so many songs on Flood that they never play so at least half of the songs I hadn't heard before. Highlights for me were Whistling in the Dark, Women and Men and They Might Be Giants. Flans pulled out the huge bass drum for Whistling in the Dark and pounded away on it. I was standing right in front of the speakers so I could feel every "bam" vibrating in my chest, so much so that it actually made me feel a little ill. It was great! Women and Men is my second favorite song off the album (after Birdhouse), even better live than it is on the album. And it is just funny to watch them attempt They Might Be Giants. They said before they started that they didn't think they had ever played it completely right and tonight was no exception. They flip flopped a few of the lyrics. Still sounded great.

They had the horns with them for this show, though there was a different trombone player than usual. He was an excellent player but seemed a little stiff, right down to his jazz club look (which I personally liked but it didn't match the rest of the band in their jeans and t-shirts). The addition of the horns really livens up frequently played songs like Birdhouse, Istanbul and Particle Man and keeps them fresh.

After they finished Flood they took a break, then came back to the Stompy Intro.

The second set: Hey, Mr. DJ - S-E-X-X-Y -  Alphabet of Nations -  Mesopotamians, - Memo to Human Resources -  Experimental Film - WDTSS? and WDTSRS? - Don't Let's Start - Drink! - Spider - Damn Good Times - Dinner Bell - Withered Hope - Seven - Dr. Worm - Clap Your Hands - The Guitar - Mr. Me - Older - James K. Polk - Fingertips

I had not seen Experimental Film before so was very excited about that. I really enjoyed hearing Why Does the Sun Really Shine? again. I don't think I had fully appreciated Withered Hope until this show. This performance left me in awe.

I will now air my personal grievance about audience participation during The Guitar. This was the first show at which I noticed numerous people raising their arms to wave during EVERY verse about the lion. I am of the opinion that you should only WAVE during the verse about the lion WAVING. Makes a lot more sense right? I've been at a few shows where everyone did it right (ie my way) and a couple where almost everyone did it wrong. Just one of my personal pet peeves.

Older featured the return of the confetti canon, missing for the last few shows I had attended. Yay, confetti! (I have a little stash of a few pieces of confetti from every show I've been to with the confetti canon that is stuffed inside one of my foam fingers.) Fingertips did not, unfortunately have the Where's Dan feature. He stayed put on stage for his solo, though oddly the spotlights turned toward the balcony at one point as if the spotlight operators had been expecting him to be up there. Perhaps he had intended to go up there then changed his mind.

This was one of the longest shows I have seen (41 songs) and every minute of it was excellent.

The next day on October 25th we went to New York City for the second show at Le Poisson Rouge, also a Flood show.

This club really grew on me over time but they never did seem to get their act together as far as how to line people up outside. We took the train into the city and walked to LPR from Grand Central which took almost an hour so we got there about 30 minutes before doors. There was already quite a line outside. We ended up right by the CVS entrance (if you went to any of the LPR shows you know what I mean). The staff seemed to be having a really hard time sorting out how to separate the will call folks from the people who had tickets. They ended up making two lines but it was all very confusing (and I never saw them do it the exact same way twice in the eight shows I saw there).

Once we got in, we found a spot on the Linnell side several people back from the stage. The club is in the basement of the building and isn't that large. The stage is raised enough that you can at least partially see no matter where you stand, but it is very easy to get a blocked view if someone tall is next to you. Totally not band related, but they also have some really futuristic looking hand dryers in the bathroom.

On to the Flood set again. Almost as good music as the night before but the banter was definitely better. On Lucky Ball and Chain Linnell made the buzzer sound astonishingly loud on his keyboard, to the point that Flans thanked him for the wake-up call after the song. Linnell said he was trying to keep people on their toes. I couldn't tell if he had meant it to be that loud or if it was a mistake, but I rather think he meant it.

Both last night and tonight they made a point of playing the studio version of Istanbul rather than their current live version. Flans pointed out that the only main difference was the substitution of the sax for the violin. Afterwards Flans decided that he liked the sax better and they joked that they were going to re-do the album and they'd like all our copies back.

At the end of Particle Man, Linnell ran out of bellows on the accordion and said Danny had "won" for ending the song last. Flans said that while some bands try to end a song together in this band it's whoever ends first that wins, in which case Linnell was the winner. Linnell then fooled them all by declaring a new contest for who could start the next song first, "Me!" and dove into Twisting leaving the rest of the band scrambling to catch up. It was hilarious!

There are a few songs that the band does where Flans will hold out his guitar for the audience to play to make some not very melodic noise. Hearing Aid is one of them, except at this show he didn't just hold the guitar out, he sent it surfing into the crowd. It made it a good 10-12 people out from the stage before he tugged on the cord and the crowd set it back to him.

Flans had trouble with the drum on Whistling in the Dark. Something was wrong with the strap and he ended up playing it on the floor. He looked really frustrated but he was a trooper, even figuring out how to play and hold a mic at the same time.

They got They Might Be Giants mostly right tonight. I know I saw them do it pretty much perfectly once but I can't remember if it was this show or the next Flood show.

At the end of Sapphire Bullets Flans said they were going to take an 18 year break and started to walk off the stage without playing Road Movie to Berlin. The rest of the band was just looking at him and Dan Miller leaned over as he passed and you could see him say "we still have to play Road Movie to Berlin." Flans went back to the center of the stage and started the song without making a comment. And then when he finished he made the same joke again about taking an 18 year break as if we hadn't already heard it. Whoops!

The setlist for the second set was almost identical to the day before: Hey, Mr. DJ - S-E-X-X-Y - Mesopotamians - Memo to Human Resources - Experimental Film - New York City - WDTSS? and WDTSRS? - Drink! -  Spider - Damn Good Times - Dinner Bell - Mink Car - Withered Hope - Seven - Dr. Worm - Clap Your Hands - The Guitar - Mr. Me - Older - James K. Polk - Alphabet of Nations - Fingertips

New York City got a huge response as we were in New York City. It was my first NYC show so I wasn't used to the New York pride (though I was rather expecting it).

We got more of the story of how Why Does the Sun Really Shine? came to be. Flans explained all the stuff about realizing that WDTSS? was incorrect and that the sun was really made out of plasma again. Then he said they had been in the studio discussing it and their engineer Jon Altschuler, who was in the audience (Flans pointed him out and made him wave in the spotlight), had suggested they write a song called The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma. So they did. Cool!

Before Mink Car they announced that they had a special guest to invite to the stage and David Driver of People Are Wrong fame came up from the back. He was wearing a shirt with an upper and lower case letter printed on it (I think it might have been a D) and a guy in the audience yelled out "Helvetica!" (as in the font) and David gave him a "right on" kind of signal for getting the reference. He also mentioned the futuristic hand dryers in the bathroom before he started singing. He did a stellar performance of Mink Car, a song I would be willing to bet, I will never see again.

They did a very horn heavy end of the set and I was pleased to see that Dan Levine was back. No confetti canons (they never used them at LPR presumably due to low ceilings). And Dan didn't find anywhere interesting to play in Fingertips but he still rocked the solo.

All in all a fantastically Flood-y weekend. Next up Apollo 18!

P.S. Only 8 days till the next show...