Friday, September 30, 2011

Country Music Hall Of Pants

September 27, 2011 - Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN

My goodness, Tennessee is a long state. Drove through 3 states in 25 minutes in the morning and drove across Tennessee for four hours in the afternoon just to get to Nashville which is only somewhere in the middle. Thanks to swift travel and dropping back an hour to Central time, we got to the Cannery Ballroom too early, before the parking was even open. I accidentally drove the wrong way around the lot to get back to the street, right past the tour bus, of course right when Anna, the merch girl was coming out the door. Oops. So we paid far too much to park elsewhere and wandered around the area for an hour or so. Counted at least 4 cake bakeries in the square mile radius around the venue, several within the same block. That's a lot of cake.

When we did get in line we were clustered on the stairs to the venue behind a few other people. The band was doing soundcheck. We heard When Will You Die as we walked up the drive, which was exciting as they haven't done it yet without Dan. Then, as we enjoyed the music through an open door, they started checking Canajoharie. Yay!! Oh how I have missed you Canajoharie. I guess they remembered it was another one they knew how to play without Dan. The door was shut after that so we didn't got to hear whatever else they did.

JoCo and company drove up in their van and wandered around trying to figure out where to load in. Turned out they needed to load in right through the front door right past all of us. Awkward. So we watched as Jonathan, Brandon, Christian and Scarface hauled boxes, guitars, drums and other sundry equipment into the venue, then try to figure out where to park their van.

The fact that the front door was the only way in and out of the venue with access to the parking lot meant that TMBG had to exit right past us after sound check to get back to their bus. I was sitting on the stairs and discovered this fact when Linnell and Danny walked right past me down the stairs. I don't think they noticed me though which was good as it would have been awkward. I wasn't quite so inconspicuous with Marty as I happened to look around right as he was coming out the door and he waved at me. Flansburgh shot down the ramp on the side of the stairs on his cell phone and Scott walked by having a conversation about laundry on his cell phone. (This was the point at which I confirmed that Dan was in fact still absent.)

Shortly after, Scott re-entered the venue carrying a large neon yellow laundry bag. I believe he bumped another fan with it as he passed as I heard him apologize to someone. For some reason, I find the idea of Scott doing the band's laundry really amusing.

The next hour or so were passed mostly in boredom. I did chat briefly with the folks next to me who were all college students who had driven in for the show.

This venue was a very unusual shape. The room was huge but there was a long bar that was essentially next to the stage (on the other side of a passageway) so it was sort of like having the stage on the end of the long wall of a rectagular room. There was a lot of the room that looked diagonally down at the stage and a good portion of the room where the stage wasn't visible at all. And the stage itself was tiny compared to the size of the room. But very deep. There was a ramp leading up the length of the stage at the back that lead from the backstage area, but was in front of the video screen. It was a rather unique set-up.

We were on the right side which afforded a really clear view of the whole stage since, sadly, Dan wasn't there to block any of it. The people on my left all seemed to be nice pleasant fans but there were some obnoxious drunks off to our right. I will never understand why people insist on getting wasted at a concert. They won't remember any of it later.

JoCo started with Mr. Fancy Pants again. It was going great until the last verse when he hit a wrong button and the rhythms went all haywire. He ended up singing the end of the verse to the sample that plays at the beginning of the song. Afterward he said that sometimes the buttons do not do what he tells they to. Someone in the crowd yelled "Yes, they do!" He laughed pretty hard and the person yelled, "Don't blame the buttons!"

The rest of his set was Artificial Heart, Shop Vac, Nememes, Sticking It To Myself, Still Alive, Code Monkey, Je Suis Rick Springfield and I Feel Fantastic.

He made the joke about Artificial Heart being a clever marketing ploy to remember the name of his album again. He also said that he was not sure he had met his nemesis yet but there sure were a lot people he hated so it was hard to tell. He joked about playing the French national anthem when he said he was going to sing a song in French. And he's got Christian starting up I Feel Fantastic while he does thank yous at the end so he can segue straight into the song.

Somewhere in this set I caught Brandon's attention and he was smiling at me singing along with whatever song they were playing. This isn't terribly pertinent now, but will become more so in the Asheville recap.

The TMBG set was a tiny bit late getting started. Maybe the laundry wasn't done. Their set looked like this:

Dead - Johnny - We Live In A Dump - Canajoharie - Judy - Particle Man - James Ensor - Los Angeles - Turn Around - Celebration - Birdhouse - Clap Your Hands - Withered Hope - Battle for the Planet of the Apes - Cloisonne - Crazy Train - Spoiler Alert - Crazy Train - Older - Don't Let's Start - Racist Friend - Alphabet of Nations - Pine Box - Ana Ng - When Will You Die - Mesopotamians. Encore - Careful What You Pack - Band Intros - Instanbul Encore 2 - Lie Still - Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes

Flans greeted everyone and said hello to the people at the back of the room by the brick wall. He teased them about wishing they had arrived sooner. He made a joke about rock music not being sucessful in Nashville that I don't quite recall.

They played Canajoharie completely without fanfare as if this hadn't been the first time they'd played it since the album came out. FYI: It's still amazing.

After Judy, Flans gave Marty a very funny shout out. "Marty Beller, on the drums, ladies and gentlemen. Why is he hitting those drums so hard? What did the drums ever do to him? Except provide a comfortable living for him and his family." At which Marty gave this very funny shrug like "well yes, that is true."

A really drunk guy off on our left kept yelling "I love you John" after each song and Flans eventually said, "We love you too." There was a brief interchange between them. I think Flans was mocking the guy for being so drunk. Then the guy yelled something else unintelligible and Linnell said "I didn't get that part."

I know there was some humorous back and forth between the Johns about the fake accents used on Los Angeles but the specifics of it are gone (this is what happens when I get behind on recaps and have multiple shows rattling around in my head.)

Flans had two records for the Celebration dance contest. One was the signed Join Us, the other was a copy of Bryan Ferry's solo album. Flans made some funny comments about the Bryan Ferry record, then told Linnell to tell a story while he got a drink. Linnell said it was weird that the Bryan Ferry album was all covers because he was a brilliant song writer but when he went to record his own album he didn't record his own songs. He also said something about thinking he had produced it himself. He commented that he couldn't read the back of the record because he didn't have his glasses and Danny insisted on picking up the record and finding the spot on the back that said that yes, Bryan had produced it himself with another guy, even though Linnell had moved on to another train of thought.

They awarded Bryan Ferry to someone off on the left and Flans asked where the couple was that had been doing all the syncronized dance moves to give them Join Us. Linnell said the best thing about them was that after each move they stopped and looked at the band like, "did you see that one?" Linnell said, "The answer is yes. Yes, we did see that."

Flans used a beam in the middle of the room as the division point between the people and the apes. He made the crowd split so there was an aisle down the center and teased some people for jumping sides. He gave out instructions and we waged war. People won. Typical. Danny has kept up his habit of joining Marty on the drums for one round which is pretty entertaining.

Flans said they had been in town for a couple of days and had gotten to visit The Country Music Hall of Pants. He was laughing about how many pairs of pants were on display in the Hall of Fame.

I videoed the Avatar segment from this show, primarily because I wanted to document Danny's keyboard version of Spoiler Alert and epic bass Crazy Train cover since they are limited time offerings. I'll add in the video when I get back.

The Avatars made more whispered comments about They Might Be Giants being mean but they apparently love Jonathan Coulton. They thanked their corporate sponsor Epic Fail Baloney Sandwiches again and performed their jingleh "Epic Fail Baloney Sandwiches - putting baloney in your face since 1946." This time Marty got out his bell on a rope and was clanging it everytime they said the name of the sponsor. The Avatars said they got paid every time the bell rang.

They did Spoiler Alert and then as they wrapped the segment with Crazy Train, Flans attempted to stick the William Allen White head on a stick that he has been calling Ryan Adams into the camera (he did this in Chicago too but I don't think I remembered to mention it.) But the video feed had been turned off so his yelled "Ryan Adams!" had no context. Then he yelled "Who cut the video feed?"

Marty really made Linnell laugh with one of his drum beats in Older but I wasn't clear what had been quite so funny about it.

I was attempting to take a picture of Flans wailing on his guitar either during Older or Don't Let's Start, I'm not sure which, and he stepped out and pretty much shoved it in my camera lens to improve the shot. It came out rather cool but I couldn't get his whole head in frame anymore.

Flans commented after Alphabet of Nations that they frequently hear a little cheering after mentioning a country in the song. For example, he said, he had heard one person cheer after Canada, indicating that had one Canadians in the audience. But this time he said there had been an unusually large response for Zimbabwe from the left side of the room.

Flans said that people seem to like When Will You Die just from the title without even hearing the song. The song just isn't the same without Dan.

When Marty left the drum riser before the encore he flipped his drum sticks in the air back over his head. They landed on the riser but when he came back he had to go hunting for them because he had no idea where they had landed.

Some awful drunk people flooded our corner during the encore break, including a guy who pushed his way to the front with a camera saying, "I'm sorry. I'm an asshole," as he did it. Charming.

As he tuned for Careful What You Pack, Flans said the ratio of people to lead guitarists in Nashville was 1-1 and he was just trying to do his part to keep that ratio in tact.

Flans did the Alternate Band Intros again with the cacophony of awful noises. I love the way he keeps saying "On the guitar, it's me!" as he rubs his guitar against the mic stand.

Flans told everyone to visit Anna at the merch stand, which he could see all the way on the other side of the venue from the oddly positioned stage. He said she had a new robotic credit card machine ready to make your old broken credit card work again. He also thanked the Cannery Ballroom for opening up the laundromat.

As the Johns and Marty were finishing Lie Still, Little Bottle Danny appeared at the bottom of the ramp at the back of the stage, beer in hand, to rejoin them. But instead of just walking up the ramp he shuffled his way up a couple inches at a time with each foot like a penguin, in time with the music. It looked ridiculous and I laughed myself silly.

Flans made a comment after Lie Still that they liked to keep things fresh and moving forward so they were going to play a song from their first album. And they played Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes, which was exciting as I had seen it on the St. Louis set but haven't heard it in a couple of years.

At the end of the song, as the guys all left the stage, Danny made Marty go down the ramp ahead of him so he could go last and then did his penguin walk all the way back down to the bottom. It had the effect of looking like someone miming walking down stairs behind a couch or counter, but with an actual incline. Totally silly and adorable and I loved him for it.

Victor came out to do setlists and gave a couple to some guys on my left. Then he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a folded one and held it out to me like contrabandn with this half glance at me that said "I know you are gonna like this, but I'm not gonna smile or anything so I don't tip you off." And sure enough, he'd tucked the St. Louis set in behind the Nashville one for me. Have I mentioned he is the best? Cause he totally is.

I know I've forgotten some stuff from this one but I think I got all the best bits in. It was a hoot. Not sure when I'll get Asheville and Richmond done. I'm so backed up now, the tour might be over before I get to them. But I'll get there eventually rest assured.

Song of the Day - Day 319

Today's song is...

Dr. Evil

This is one of the songs that is eventually going to thwart my desire to hear every song on the Dial-A-Song collection live. Because, seriously, what are the odds of them ever doing this again, really? As far as theme songs for a parody movie go, this is a pretty spot on parody itself. Kudos on that!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 318

Today's song is...

Gazing Out Toward

I really do enjoy mixed tempo songs and the guitar here is pretty cool. Too bad it's so short.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ain't Never Gonna Keep Me Down

September 23, 2011 - The Vic - Chicago, IL

"If you can draw it in the air or write it down then you weren't there."

After being at this show I really get that lyric. There are some things that words are just inadequate to describe. I actually wasn't sure afterward that I would be able to recap this show at all. It was such an emotionally charged experience, I wasn't sure I was up to the task. I'm still not. But I'll try to at least share the basics because there are some things that happened that deserve to documented, even if I can't do them justice.

Gary and I got up at 3:30 in the morning to get to the airport for our 6:30 flight to Chicago. I'd been nursing a very mild cold since we got back from our last trip but, sitting on the plane it decided to flare up full force so by the time we landed in Chicago, I was well and truly sick. This, combined with the three hours of sleep I got, made me kind of a wreck.

We spent the day at the Brookfield Zoo, then went to check into our hotel before the show. But we got stuck in traffic and had trouble with the hotel key and had to stop for cold medicine and it all resulted in us being an hour and a half late to meet Megan and Ana and all of their friends at The Vic, so that just added to my stress.

I got to briefly meet a bunch of great people in line, at least half of whom, I failed to retain their names. It was lovely sort of meeting all of you and I'm glad there is photographic evidence.

We learned from one of these people that Dan had not been at the show the night before and that rumor was he had had to go home because of a family emergency. This prooved to be accurate once we got inside as we stood on his side of the stage and his pedal board wasn't there. So I added desperate worry about Dan to my already touchy emotional state and was mostly a complete wreck for the rest of the night.

I had the last spot on the right side of the stage right next to a light tower and a speaker on stage, and a very large security guard next to me on the floor. He also had a backpack on the floor next to my feet and as people budged and shifted when the show started, I was pushed into it so that I couldn't really stand straight. And during the entirity of Jonathan Coulton's set, the security guard was pressed up against my back, much closer than was really necessary given the space. It was really awkward and uncomfortable. Fortunately, after JoCo, the guards switched and a different guy was next to me who did not feel the need to adhere himself to my back and eventually even let another fan in between us. The backpack was still there though so it was still an awkward place to stand.

JoCo's set was mostly the same but in a different order. But he did play Je Suis Rick Springfield which I was excited about because I hadn't heard that live yet. Normally, I would have more to say about his set but I was still so distracted and standing in such an uncomfortable way, it was hard to really enjoy it.

The TMBG setlist was as follows: Dead - Johnny - Particle Man - James Ensor - Los Angeles - Turn Around - Celebration - Don't Let's Start - Racist Friend - Horse With No Name - Tubthumping - Cloisonne - Crazy Train - Spoiler Alert - Crazy Train - Older - Alphabet of Nations - Old Pine Box - Ana Ng - Judy - Dump - Birdhouse - Withered Hope - Clap Your Hands - Battle for the Planet of the Apes - Mesopotamians Encore - Careful What You Pack - Band Intros - Guitar Encore 2 - Lie Still - Istanbul

This was definitely a "less talk, more rock" show with pretty limited banter.

Flans started the show by applying nicknames to several people in the crowd. "You, you in the hat. You're gonna be Rocky. And you, guy with the Ecstacy sticks, we're gonna call you Exey." There was a drunk guy behind me who was yelling that he wanted to be dubbed "drunk guy." He ended up being pretty obnoxious over the course of the night so maybe being drunk was not something he should have been so proud of.

Flans was going on about how incredibley unsuccessful the Venue Songs record was before Los Angeles and how they were playing the song to promote awareness of the album.

Flans held a dance contest during Celebration with the prizes being some dollar bin records (and the signed Join Us vinyl). There was a Rick Springfield album in honor of the JoCo song and Laurie Anderson's Big Science. And The Sin-sational Rusty Warren. One of the guys commented that they felt bad for Rusty Warren because that album hadn't gotten any cheers from the crowd. Then Flans went on this riff about Rusty Warren calling to Linnell to join her in the afterlife and Linnell was like, "Someday. Someday I will and you'll be waiting for me." (This actually had more to it and was far funnier than my retelling. Megan probably remembers better.)

There was some enthusiastic dancing going on in the crowd but I couldn't really have participated even if I had wanted to because I was so wedged in next to the backpack. I would have fallen over. I contented myself with singing along enthusiastically and being fascinated that Danny was singing Dan's back-up part in the song.

Flans had tweeted the AV Club people to remember that their cue was Don't Let's Start. And sure enough, as they did Racist Friend, the Av Club crowd could be seen massing in the wing, all with guitars.

Flans asked our pardon for a moment while they prepared the stage and the techs brought out a bunch of extra mics and positioned them around the stage. Then the giants crowd of AV Club staff flooded the stage. There must have been at least 20 of them, maybe more. And at least half of them had acoustic guitars. Flans explained that they were going to do something that they used to do a lot but they had realized that none of their current band members had ever participated in despite their long tenure with the band. They were going to have a large crowd of people all join them with guitars to play a two chord song, A Horse With No Name. Linnell was to sing and Flans conduct. Flans asked anyone with a smart phone to please take it out and film the next seven and a half minutes or so, which is probably why there are so many videos of it on YouTube. I, for once, used the video feature on my camera and captured the whole thing though the audio is a bit blown out due to my proximity to the speaker. I'll embed it here when I'm not writing on my phone.

They started to play and Linnell said he was gonna give everyone a minute to settle into the rhythm. Danny was standing on the other side of the stage demonstrating the strumming pattern for the folks that were struggling. And then Linnell started singing (with a cheat sheet) and we got to witness acoustic guitarmaggedon. On the "la-la-la" part Linnell told us all to sing along because we all knew the song. And it was a beautiful thing.

When they finished, Flans explained how they had come to do the Tubthumping video with the AV Club and said they were going to recreate it live for the people of Chicago one time only. And they did. And I don't think I have ever, in my entire life, been in the presense of so much completely unadulterated joy and youthful exuberance than during that one three minute song. Watching the AV Club staff on stage having the time of their lives screaming along (and this one guy on the end who was doing his best impression of a rock star) and Flans backing up to play with them and smacking a girl in the head. Flans and Danny and Linnell all bouncing up and down on the choruses like there were springs in the floor and Marty throwing his whole being into the drums. And more than anything else, looking back at the crowd and seeing hundreds and hundreds of people jumping up and down, pounding fists in the air and screaming "Ain't never gonna keep me down!" This is what I flew 1000 miles for a day to see and it was so powerfully emotional I felt like the Grinch on Christmas Day when his heart swelled ten times. It was so beautiful it hurt. Not gonna lie, I was watching someone elses's video of it the other morning and I there were tears rolling down my face.

The song finished and Flans thanked the AV Club and apologized to the girl he had whacked in the head.

When it came time for the Avatars I was really curious what they were gonna do without Dan. I was thoroughly wow'd when Danny produced a spot on cover of the guitar part of Crazy Train on the bass. He was tearing it up. Damn, that was cool.

Flans did the same schtick about Don Kirschner's Rock Concert live from London that he's been doing. Blue greeted us in a British accent. Green attempted to do the same but then commented that it sounded more Australian. They said they'd like to thank their sponsor and someone in the crowd yelled "BP!" Blue said yes, their sponsor was British Petroleum and made some jokes about wrecking the environment. Then he said, seriously they wanted to thank their sponsor Epic Fail Baloney Sandwiches. They then proceeded to sing the jingle for Epic Fail Baloney Sandwiches which was a pretty perfect reacreation on a radio jingle from the 60s. I'm sorry, I don't remember the exact lyrics (but I have it on video from Nashville). They also reprised the jingle at the end of Spoiler Alert. Blue also made a joke about his hat being a message for their sponsor.

When I saw Danny approach the keyboard at the beginning of the segment, I thought they were going to do Shoehorn with him on keyboard. But to my surprise he actually played Spoiler Alert on the keys which was really cool and which he must have put together ridiculously fast and without much practice time. Sounded great.

During the "cover my eyes" line, Flans put his hand over Blue's eyes and leaned his head back and then sang the rest of the song with Blue sideways on the screen as if he had reclined. Hehe.

We got more epic Crazy Train cover instead of Free Ride.

I was worried about Linnell playing Alphabet of Nations on the keyboard as he frequently botches it horribly but he did ok. Good job.

Flans made a joke about Old Pine Box being about a sad old burnout that was funny but which I don't really recall.

Flans asked if they could take a 20 second break before We Live in a Dump and brought out the giant Join Us poster. He did a sales pitch that involved trying to convince people to buy it for their dorms. He said it was so thick sound couldn't penetrate it and demonstrated by holding it between himself and the mic and then rubbing it against the mic to make a scratchy static sound. Then he said the poster was thicker than most dorm room walls. "We've changed the name of the wifi to 'We Can Hear You Having Sex.'" Then he actually gave the poster away to a guy in the crowd which he hasn't been doing because he keeps saying they are too expensive. One of the techs ran out and handed the guy the plastic sleeve for the poster. Flans told him good luck getting it back into it.

Sad as am that Dan wasn't there, I was pleased to see that after all this time, Danny finally got a mic to sing the "ba-da-da-daa-da" part of We Live in a Dump.

Added to Marty's pre-Clap Your Hands resume: the next liberatarian candidate for president of the United States.

Vicious ape vesus people battle. Flans actually divided the crowd down the middle physically, creating an aisle down the middle of the room. Both sides fought valiently but the people still one. They were added by an intensely good bass and drum riff on the first round and Danny picking up the drum sticks to play with Marty on the second round.

Flans said they were with the apes but he loved the people too. Linnell said it was just the apes for him. Then he said something that included fuck, that I have completely forgotten but it was so funny I cackled.

They did the Alternate Intro again for the band, with the guys all making awful noises. Flans was rubbing his guitar against the mic stand again. But Marty won this contest, flipping around his kit like a nutcase playing every noise he could think of. By the end it looked like he was just hitting things like he was trying to make sure he had whacked every possible item at least once.

Flans also thanked the crew and thanked JoCo for joining them for the acoustic guitarmaggedon. I hadn't noticed that he had but I guess he did.

Then a lovely performance of The Guitar. Flans had Danny do the solo and had him play for what seemed like forever while leading us in endless rounds of "The bass is Danny Weinkauf."

The drunk guy behind me managed to stomp on my ankle while jumping up and down during The Guitar. He didn't even notice but I was near tears. No wonder too, since, examining it outside the entire left side was purple and swollen. Asshole.

Mr. Brunette came out and placed new setlists before the second encore. Hardly seemed necessary since they had already gone off set and only played one of the songs written on that set during that encore anyway but whatever. We clapped along with Lie Still, Little Bottle and then they closed it out with Istanbul.

Marty ran back out to pass out sticks. Then to my surprise, Danny came back out to say hi to us. He was moving down our group smacking hands with everyone (except Megan, sorry Meg) and the folks reaching in behind us and said thanks for coming. Then he looked back at me grinning maniacly (as Megan described it) and said "What are you doing here?" "We flew," I said, making airplane wings with my arms (I have a tendency to do embarassingly goofy things like this when talking to him for some reason). And he just shook his head at me and laughed.

Victor came out with setlist and only had three in his hand and handed them all out before he got to me. But he looked at me and held up a finger like "hang on, I'll be back with yours" and went back stage. I could see him rummaging around in some drawers in a cabinet and couldn't figure out what he was doing. But he came back out with some more setlists and one tucked under his arm. He gave out the others then handed me the folded one under his arm. And I opened it up to find, not only the two pages of the set from Chicago, but also, every setlist from the entire week of the tour we had missed. I looked back up at him with a shocked grin but he had already moved on. I hope he saw how surprised and delighted I was. Because he remembered to the exact show when we had left, to the point that he even included the Cleveland set because he had not given us that one (we got it from Mr. Brunette). I was completely stunned. Victor is the best. THE BEST.

Megan went to buy a hoodie and we waited around for her. We saw the aftermath of what turned out to be a successful marriage proposal up by the stage.

We went outside to wait where we could avoid the crowd. While we were standing out on the sidewalk, Danny came up behind me and said said "thanks again for coming." It happened so fast and I was so caught of guard I don't think I even replied, just smiled at him foolishly. I'm actually not even sure I knew how he was there except I think he must have put a hand on my shoulder or something as he passed or I would have missed it completely.

And we said goodbye to all out friends and went back to our hotel for 3 hours of sleep before another 6:30am flight. The entire thing seems a little dream-like but is not something I will soon (or ever) forget. Worth the trip a thousand times over.

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 9/28/11

Captured on our whirlwind trip to Chicago.

Please send submissions to

Song of the Day - Day 317

Today's song is...

The Next Plane To London

I can't say I enjoy Flansburgh's cover as much of the original but it's an interesting choice to cover. And the bridge is entertaining.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 316

Today's song is...


This never fails to make me laugh because I'm forever trying to picture Linnell recording these vocals and just giggling at the mental image of the faces that go along with those sounds he is making at the end. I enjoy the song as a total TMBG oddity and one of the many little gems hidden in Unlimited.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 315

Today's song is...

Maybe I Know

I am not a super huge fan of the song itself, because I find it sad, but I am a fan of the Johns' performance of it. It is such a perfect showcase for their combined vocals and the beautiful striped down performances they do of it with just the two of them are always a little taste of what it must have been like way back when.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 314

Today's song is...


This has got to be one of the most quoted songs in the catalog for Gary and I. But that's mostly because we visit a lot of zoos and see a lot of hippos. "Hippo, hippo, hippo, hippo."

This song is silly and simple and it's one of my favorites of the family stuff for exactly those reasons. It is a hoot to hear live. I've only seen it once and it was at my third show. I remember virtually nothing from that show but I remember this, specifically the way Linnell was moving his arms while doing the "one quarter of George Washington's head" part. And the video on the ABCs DVD with Flans in the bear costume is hilarious. HILARIOUS!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 313

Today's song is...

With The Dark

This is one of those songs I love that I always forget to mention I love. The beginning is so beautiful and then it turns into a rock explosion. Its got so many different pieces that don't seem like they would fit together and yet all the edges line up perfectly. And it's absolutely incredible live with the full horn section. Full volume rock.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Song of the Day - Day 312

Today's song is...

Electric Car

One of my very favorite songs on HCS. A really beautiful arrangement, lovely vocals from Robin. The horn arrangement is amazing. The chorus is SO fun to sing along with. And I'm a little obsessed with the rhythm of the handclaps. But I think my favorite part is the adorable video. It has made it impossible for me to listen to this song in the car without bopping my head like the animal characters in the video. <3

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 311

Today's song is...

Chaos By Design

This one is pretty. I especially like the little instrumental break near the end. In general, this is one of the very non-TMBG sounding TMBG songs that makes me really appreciate what good song writers they are because they can write such good music outside their comfort zone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's A Picture Opposite Me - 9/21/11

I got this one on our most recent road trip.


Please send submissions to

Song of The Day - Day 310

Today's song is...


Hmmm, live instrumental track from a show I have, but have never listened to and isn't on my computer for me to pull up and reference. Also available on Clock Radio but my CR doesn't work properly so I never use it. I think that pretty much means I haven't heard this one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 309

Today's song is...


This isn't really one of my favorite venue songs but I am kind of fascinated by the video. What is going on with those slides? It's just weird and interesting. Last I heard, the Starr Hill Music Hall was now a brewery. So now it really is "glazed with alcohol."

You'll Never Guess What Happened Next

It has been so long since I did an Audience Participation post. Do you guys even remember how these work?

My dear friend, frequent travel companion and occasional blog contributor, Megan, has requested a post on Most Surprising Moments At Shows and I am happy to oblige her. Especially as I have had several of these myself recently.

The idea here is to identify those moments at shows that truly caught you off guard. The ones that left you standing in the audience with your jaw hanging open. The ones you still look back at and think "I can't believe that happened."

I can think of a few right off the bat that SHOULD have been surprising moments for me but, for one reason or another weren't. Like the Factory Showroom show where the band opened with Token Back To Brooklyn and NO ONE was expecting them to open with the bonus track that has never been played live before or since. Except at the time, I was such a new fan that I didn't know the song and didn't know that I should be surprised. Whoops. Or the Every Album show, where they played Unsupervised and West Virginia for the first time with TMBG, and no one had even considered that "every album" also included solo projects. But again, uneducated me was barely familiar with either song (it's possible I hadn't even heard at least one of them before) and so missed the boat on that one. There were also several songs played at an LPR show that I should have been stunned to hear (Puppet Head, Museum of Idiots, End of the Tour) but I could see Dan's setlist the whole time and knew they were coming and thus spoiled the surprise.

But here are a few show moments that I most certainly was NOT expecting.

The Mesopotamians Premiere
I was there the first time they played The Mesopotamians, but that wasn't the thing that surprised me. I had barely heard any of their music at the time and couldn't recognize new material from old. All I knew was that this band my boyfriend liked had all of a sudden started singing a song that mentioned an ancient Mesopotamians king (Sargon) who was the subject of a long standing joke among my friends in college (who were mostly all archaeology majors). It was so obscure and out of nowhere and I was completely floored. I didn't know anyone outside of my uber-geeky circle even knew who Sargon was, much less cared enough to write a song mentioning him. And it was a really good song too. I don't remember much else about that show, but I sure do remember that.

Danny Defies Gravity
I've seen Danny execute that leap in Doctor Worm every which way, but never did it take me so by surprise as in Richmond, where he had come out to the edge of the stage and was towering over me and Megan's heads while he played. And then out of nowhere and RIGHT in our faces he shot into the air with a rock start split designed to make even the most stalwart fangirl (which I am not) swoon. Pretty sure Meg will back me up that we just gaped at each other foolishly afterward as if trying to confirm with each other that yes, in fact, that really had just happened.

For the longest time, Spy was the song Gary had seen the most number of times, that I had yet to see at all. But that all changed at one of the spring LPR shows, when Stan stepped out and started playing the beginning of the song. And I didn't react. Gary hit me and I was like, "What?" "Spy!" he says. Holy shit, says my brain! Spy! I was so not expecting it, I didn't even recognize it.

Linnell's Katharine Hepburn Impression
This was one of those things that even as it was happening it was hard to believe it was happening. When Linnell announced he was going to perform Why Does The Sun Shine? as Katharine Hepburn, we did not take him seriously. Obviously, this was a mistake as he actually did perform the entire song in a spot on perfect Hepburn impression that had me laughing so hard it hurt. Note to self: when Linnell says he is going to do something silly, BELIEVE HIM.

Posed Photography
Remember that time I was taking a picture of Linnell playing the accordion and he looked down and realized I was having trouble getting him in frame because I was too close to the stage, so he bent down and held the pose until I got my picture? Remember that?! Because I remember that and it totally blew my mind.

Chinese Food Anyone?
Not actually during a show, but between two. Gary and I were enjoying a nice Chinese meal between a family show and a rock show at the restaurant next to the theater. I had my back to the door. I am mid-meal when all of a sudden I hear Flansburgh's voice behind me. Turned out Flans, Danny, Marty and his wife and kids had come in for dinner and sat at the table immediately behind us. This quickly became the  most awkward meal I have even eaten as I was terrified to say anything lest they realize we were fans and regret the decision to sit next to us. Can't remember when I have ever been so alarmed to have someone eating Chinese food with tofu a foot behind me.

Paleontologist Premiere
This wasn't quite as surprising as it might have been since Flans took a moment to introduce the new song before Danny started singing, but the fact that they played a new song at all and that is was a new Danny song at that was absolutely mind boggling. And even more so when it turned out to be such an exceptionally amazing song. Linnell doing the dinosaur names. Flans singing the "digging" backing vocal. And Danny completely rocking out on vocals. I was awed.

Marty's Drum Sticks
Marty has a unique knack for sneaking up on me when I'm not looking up, a skill never better executed than when he came out to present his sticks to me in Boston in July. I didn't see him coming and had no time to prepare myself so I was left staring stupidly at the sticks in my hand, trying to wrap my mind around where they had come from. I've now had informal encounters with all of the band members but Linnell, and I don't think any of them compare with this one on the surprise factor.

Hi Dan!
This is still just a few days old, but I am still completely stunned that Dan waved at me on stage. And so casually, as if he was just waving to a friend in the crowd, and not as if this was the first time in four years and 80 shows that he showed any inkling of recognizing me. It's a damn good thing this was captured on video because I would probably convince myself it hadn't happened other wise.

Purple Toupee
Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel.The Johns were announcing that they were playing something from Lincoln and we all assumed it was Ana Ng. And then they started playing and my jaw hit the floor. I hit Megan and was like "Purple Toupee!" And then every single person on our side of the stage stared at the band in abject horror as we tried to come to terms with the fact that they were playing Purple Toupee, and Stacy, who had been waiting YEARS to hear the song, wasn't there. I think there were audible gasps. They probably thought we were upset that they were playing it. I have never been so thrilled and horrified to hear a song before or since.

Famous Polka Lyrics
The American Museum of Natural History. The band is performing under a giant whale. It's the second show, same set. The band is ripping through The Famous Polka for the second time that day, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Flans starts singing the words to the song. The words they haven't performed in years. And he just randomly busts them out at a kids' show under a whale.

That's everything I can think of at the moment. I'll invariably think of other things later. But I really look forward to hearing about your most surprising show moments and hopefully this post lives up to Megan's expectations :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 308

Today's song is...

I'm A Little Airplane

I love this cover. Partly, I think, because of Linnell's pronunciation of the lyrics. The over enunciated "wangity wang" in particular. But I also really like the effect on the guitar and the accordion (that's accordion right?). And the song is just cute.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Song of The Day - Day 307

Today's song is...

The Biggest One

I find the vocal a little harsh but I am really fond of the backing track and how it fits together with the accordion and guitar. I guess it's not much of a secret that I'm not typically a huge fan of early Flansburgh songs, but they can be counted on to always have something interesting going on musically.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Basking In The Under Glow Of The Beachland Ballroom

September 16, 2011 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH

If ever a show was begging to be recorded to preserve the awesome banter for posterity, it was this one. Too bad I don't have that capability. I shall be endlessly sorry about that. The raps were so extensive and chock-a-block full of quotable lines that there is no possible way this recap will be able to do them justice. My memory just isn't faithful enough for the task. But I'll give it the old college try.

We were the second group in line at the Beachland, behind the very same people who were in front of us at this venue when we were here two years ago: an enthusiastic mother and son (who had another person with them this time). It was amusing both to recognize them and note that the son has grown about two feet since I last saw him.

We got to hear snippets of a lot of the soundcheck and got a teaser of the new stuff they added into the set tonight. In particular, Experimental Film was blasting out the door of the venue when I opened the door to my car in the parking lot.

I remembered the stage in the Beachland being small, but apparently I did not recall just how small it was. I took a space by the stage which I thought would afford me a pretty perfect view of Marty and Danny, with a slight angle on Linnell and Flans whenever he chose to wander over. But I failed to account for just how tiny the stage frontage was and the keyboard ended up being positioned immediately in front of me so that I had the direct-eye-contact-with-Linnell view instead. Not complaining really, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

I had two young kids to my right who were dropped off by the stage and left there to bop with all the taller adults around them. And thanks to some email prompting from Megan, I finally got to meet Valerie and her friend Zack who were immediately behind me. Yay!

Jonathan Coulton and the New All Star Band repeated their set from Rochester. Most of the banter was also largely recycled. One humorous exception was when Jonathan went to introduce the name of the next song and someone in the crowd yelled that it was "Sucker." Jonathan accused him of reading it off the setlist (which the guy had since he could clearly see Brandon's) and told the guy he had twarted him because that was only the setlist abreviation and he didn't know that the real title was Sucker Punch. He told the guy it was a nice try but he got no points, then he deducted 10 points from him for cheating.

When JoCo thanked his band at the end of the set, he pointed out that Brandon also had CDs for sale at the merch booth and someone in the crowd yelled "Black Lotus!" Jonathan then put on this really cute excited fanboy voice and said "I know! I can't believe I'm playing with Black Lotus!" It was cute. Jonathan then realized when he went to introduce Christian that he had been obscuring him from view the entire set and stepped aside to show everyone what he looked like.

Techs swarmed the stage like locusts breaking down equipment. It almost seemed that there were too many bodies trying to do the job and many of them didn't have enough instruction on what stayed and what went.

Inexplicably, given that they have not had the confetti cannons in use at any point yet this tour, the stage was littered with pieces of confetti. And it more of it kept materializing, seemingly out of nowhere, in the air throughout the night. It was kind of bizarre, like the place was haunted by ghosts of confetti explosions past.

They moved the keyboard over, which was the point at which I realized how terribly obstructed my view was. The drum kit became completely invisible. The security person working for the venue had said outside that they were enforcing a 3 song limit on photography and I was convinced every picture I took was going to be a close up of Linnell behind his mic with a yellow light behind a head. But that didn't end up being the case and my view, though obstructed, was surprisingly good. And they didn't end up enforcing the photo limit at all.

Gary and I noted shortly before the show started that the techs had neglected to plug the sustain pedal into the keyboard. The chord was dangling from the mic stand unconnected. I joked about having to plug it in for them and speculated about whether it went in the right or left pedal port on the keyboard. I did not realize how nearly prophetic this joke was until much later.

Gary also noticed and pointed out that Marty's new drum head on the bass drum has once again had it's space invadered applied so it does not look so barren and sad. Thanks goodness.

When TMBG hit the stage, Flans got the silliness going right from the start. He stepped up to the mic with an affected snooty accent and greeted us all. "It's always a pleasure to play where ever we are right now and tonight will be no exception." He said they had changed the style of music they played since the last time they had visited and he hoped we were prepared for that. "We are going to start things off with something from our middle period." And they busted into Birdhouse.

Flans was all over the place playing The Guitar. He's been doing this thing in the second chorus when he sings the word "guitar" where he just holds the note for as long as he possibly can. Linnell was doing that great hopping up and down thing while playing that he does. And I discovered with delight, that while I couldn't see the drums at all, I could see Marty over the keyboard so no one was completely blocked from view (except Danny but only when he chose to hide behind Linnell).

It was really exciting to see that a huge number of the people in the front with me were able to sing along faithfully through When Will You Die and Celebration.

Dan left the stage at this point signaling that the next song was one he doesn't play, and he got an extended break because the next song was preceeded by one of the funniest banter breaks yet on this tour.

Flans started by giving away the signed Join Us vinyl to the little girl next to me. She looked like she didn't quite know what to do with it. He asked her to hold it for him. Until the end of time. I think she thought he might still ask for it back the way she was holding it.

Then Flans commented on the aura of the neighhood they were in. He attributed this to the proximity to the glow of the Beachland Ballroom. Linnell said that the Beachland actually moved around the city shining its under glow on every neighborhood it stopped in. Flans said he had visited two different nearby used record stores and that both had had multiple cats. And that all the cats were really friendly. He said frequently used record store cats are not friendly but these ones were cuddly. At which point Linnell broke in to point out that he had only just realized that Flans meant that kind of cats. "You thought I was breaking out the jazz lingo?" said Flans. "I'm talking about kitty cats." Linnell then joked that the term cuddle had tipped him off to what kind Flans meant, but then went off on how the "cats" working in the record stores could have been cuddly too.

When they finally got around to playing the next song, which turned out to be Don't Let's Start, Linnell did something almost impossibly cute and funny. At the end of the line "The words I'm singing now mean nothing more than meow to an animal," he mimed a cat scratching at an invisible something and quietly meowed. I will never hear a person making a cat meow sound again without being reminded of this.

Flans exibited some more spastic guitar playing on this song, going so far as to remove his guitar and play it sidewise in front of him. And Danny did some nice spinning around in circles near the end.

I was forced, by virtue of not being able to see the drums, to actually watch someone other than Marty play Judy which was a good reminder that the rest of the song is really damn good too.

I think it was before Experimental Film, that Linnell noted that they had three songs in a row on the setlist in the key of G. Flans then interrupted him to comment on the guy who was watching the show from behind the speaker column on the left side of the stage. "I saw a Patti Smith concert like that once. I'm still hearing it." Flans then pretended to play a game of peekaboo with the guy.Then he apologized to Linnell for interupting him.

Linnell said that he had been finished with his thought but Flans told him to continue and Linnell explained again that he had noticed that there were 3 songs in a row in G. Danny, behind him said "I know." Linnell then started mocking him. "I just noticed something and Danny's all 'I already know that.'" (He said, putting on a irritated voice when impersonating Danny). And Flans jumped in also in Danny's voice. "This is boring. All these songs in G." Danny cracked up.

Flans explained that it was deliberate. He pointed out that The Guitar, When Will You Die and Celebration are all in A so there was a pattern. "Seems like intelligent design to me. A supernatural hand came down and put the songs in that order." Linnell kept trying to point out that the letters spelled something but Flans kept interupting him. Eventually Linnell just said if you write out the letters on your hand they spell something. Flans said they spell "You lost your keys in the club." Linnell said that actually they spell "AAAGGG." I know there were more totally awesome bits of dialogue here but this is as close as I can put back together.

The video projection for Experimental Film was an awesome segment involving a lot of close ups of William Allen White's head. I haven't heard this song in quite a long time and it was lovely to hear it again. I like singing the "yeah"s along with Flans and Dan.

Old Pine Box made it back into the setlist again finally after several days of being on the list but crossed out.

Linnell announced for those following along, that the next song was in F# and that the word now spelled "AAAGGGF Sharp."

Then I had the personal highlight of my evening in Doctor Worm. At the beginning of the song I was on the receiving end of this completely brilliant smile from Danny that lasted so long I had to look away cause I was getting giddy. And I looked over at Dan, towering over me on the keyboard instead. And he was just starting that first really long back-up note he sings in the first chorus. And to my complete shock, while still singing and with one hand still on the keyboard, he met my gaze, smiled around his note and waved at me with his other hand (the super cute kind of wave like a little kid waving bye-bye too). I died right there on the spot. I must make clear that Dan has never, ever, in all the time I've been following these guys showed any sign that he recognizes me so to have that moment finally come out of the blue mid-back-up vocal was...well let's say its a wonder I remained breathing.
I was also standing there trying to remember if Dan needed the sustain pedal for the song because it still wasn't plugged in. Turned out he did, because he started gesturing to the guys back stage that it wasn't working. I tried to catch his eye again to indicate it wasn't plugged in but he wasn't looking down. He gave it another try and shook his head at them again. Then he reached round the back trying to feel for the plug. At which point I picked up the chord that was still dangling from the mic stand and handed it to him to plug in. He mouthed "thanks" and we shared a good chuckle about it. He did have to give it one more tweak to get it working but by the time Victor came out to check it after the song it was all fixed.

They busted into The Famous Polka next and I gave up my resolve to follow the rules about not taking any more pictures. Everyone around me was using cameras the whole time and the pose Linnell and Flans were making as they played the song was just too much for me. Unfortunately, I didn't get the camera out fast enough to capture it.

What I hadn't really thought about until Flans apologized to Dan afterward was that Dan tackled the song on the keyboard, and performed a totally impressive Polka solo on the keys. Flans said afterward that he hadn't thought when he was putting together the set, that Dan would be on the wrong instrument but Dan waved it off as no big deal and indeed it wasn't because you never would have known he didn't play the song on keys every day.

They sailed through You Probably Get That A Lot and The Alphabet of Nations, which featured some classic spastic Linnell hand gestures.

Then Flans brought out the giant Join Us poster and did his riff on how it wasn't selling and he was reduced to this stunt of showing off how truly giants it is on stage. He recommended it as the best dorm room decoration again or suggested you could just walk around campus carrying it. Then he did this really nerdy voice. "Hey, guys check out my poster. Yeah, I was at the show."

During Cloisonne, Flans sat down on the side of the drum riser and shortened the mic stand to be the right height and sang most of the song seated there with his guitar.

Linnell commented that they now had a run of songs on the setlist starting with C as they followed Cloisonne with Cyclops Rock. They kept the high volume rock going with Withered Hope, then Flans started the explanations for Battle for the Planet of the Apes.

I admit, I missed most of the explanation because I got totally distracted by the goofball antics going on at the back of the stage. Dan had climbed up behind Marty on the drum riser and picked up a stick which he used to start banging on the cowbell and then the floor tom in sequence. Marty got a kick out of this and pulled out another stick to give to Danny. Danny didn't look as enthusiastic about playing but he started a beat on the cymbal, eventually switching to a lazy beat on the under side of it. I spend most of this time on my knees trying to get a picture of them under the keyboard.

I was back on Team People again tonight. Flans did an extra round of the battle than usual, but the people still won. Flans admitted that the people always win but he neglected to mention that they hadn't the night before.

I couldn't hear any of the intro Blue Avatar did to their segment this time over Crazy Train, and the people cheering. Pretty sure it was another intro to Don Kircshner's Rock Concert. Much of this puppet show was centered on Green repeatedly shouting, "I can't feel my arm." Blue eventually pointed out that all he was was an arm and Green said yes, and he couldn't feel it. Meanwhile, Blue was obsessed with the fact that his image on the screen was visible on the camera to Green's left. He kept wanting to know who that guy following him around was. There was some great back and forth on both of these topics that I can't replicate.

Never Knew Love also found it's way back into this set. I found that I was actually hearing Linnell's backing "love" not through the mic but straight out of his mouth since he wasn't singing in the mic.

They tucked We Live In A Dump in. Then Flans started to introduce Dan for Istanbul. Dan held up a finger that he needed a minute as Victor was fixing something on the monitor on his back but Flans didn't see him so he had to do it again. Then he went to start playing and immediately dropped his guitar pick and held up his finger again before going to get another one.

Flans started to do a mock sponsor announcement. "We'd like to reminded everyone that Dan Miller uses..." He obviously intended Dan to fill in the brand name of pick but Dan just held up his new one and said "Picks." It was terribly funny.

Another ridiculously good Istanbul from Dan, followed by an excellent rest of the song from everyone, particularly Marty at the end. I missed it, but Gary says at the end of the song, Marty blew Dan a kiss, which I saw him do at Toad's so it doesn't surprise me. I did see Dan and Danny's reaction which was gut busting laughter.

Flans had the guys do another crazy band intro with the weird sound effects but this time he used their real names. He announced what noise he was going to use before he started which was some kind of pedal with an outer space effect. Then he introduced himself first and played his wailing outer space noise. "On the guitar, it's Flansy!" Marty selected some sound effects from the electronic pad. Danny made a pretty cool noise I have no way to describe. Linnell put some sort of synth on the keyboard and was just playing some of the keys. And Dan did something that involved lots of sliding on the strings. It sounds truly terrible in an awesome sort of way.

Then they totally surprised me by closing the set with We're The Replacements. Damn, that is a fun song live.

They came back for the first encore and Linnell went on this long riff on the next song being about a band of half people/half apes all named Mickey Dolenz. Linnell said, "Fucking chimps couldn't even play music." He went on about what a waste of money it was. Flans said all they did was rip your face off. Linnell added in the hospital bills and then went on about the wasted money and this great show they had planned that they couldn't do because the chimps couldn't play. It was really bizarre and hilareous. And all led up to The Mesopotamians.

We got a little quiet moment with Careful What You Pack, before they wrapped up the first encore with a very highly energized Johnny.

Linnell, Flans and Marty came back for Lie Still, Little Bottle. The highlight of this was Flans getting the crowd to start chanting "apes" and "people" to the rhythm at the end of the song. Then the Dans returned and they finished out with Fingertips. Flans just sang "oooo" instead of doing a Heart Attack ad lib, but we did some really soulful swaying for Mysterious Whisper. And Linnell really seemed to get a kick out of faking out the crowd with the giant pause before singing between the "and" and "I" in Darkened Corridors. Epic guitar and drum finish and we're out.

Gary snagged our setlist from Mr. Brunette as Victor was otherwise occupied. I then completely failed to get Danny to sign my copy of Join Us as I was attempting to do it remains woefully incomplete in its signatures. And that was it.

Now today we make the saddest drive of the week as the band continues west and we must return east. Stupid real life. But we'll see them again in Chicago on Friday, and rejoin them through the end of this leg in Nashville, so there is lots more touring to come. With any luck, I'll have pictures up by the end of the night. And if you're seeing the boys at any of the stops in the next week, tell them I say hi!

Song of The Day - Day 306

Today's song is...

Concrete And Clay

I don't know what to say about this one. I have mixed feelings about it. There are parts I really like and parts I could do without. There are pieces of the vocal I really like the sound of. But I'm not sold on the backing track.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dan Miller Day

September 15, 2011 - Harro East Ballroom - Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY, birthplace of guitar god, Dan Miller. Flans declared it Dan Miller Day and Dan Miller Day it was. I was terribly pleased to see that someone followed through on the requests for baked goods for Dan Miller and brought him a cake since I was a million miles from my kitchen and could not.

We had a little trouble finding this place. I keep joking about putting a homing beacon on the tour bus to help me find venues and it would have been very useful in this case. Directions and parking instructions on the website were vague. We ended up parking on the street and wandering around trying to confirm we were in the right place.

This become clear when we turned a corner and found, not only the tour bus but also Jonathan Coulton and his All Stars unloading their van. Phew. TMBG was on stage for soundcheck as we passed the open side door to the venue and were once again practicing You Don't Like Me, which they again didn't play in the show. I sure hope it's ready for Cleveland and they don't roll it out in the week I'm not around.

At first glance, this venue looked like a gymnasium. It did turn out to be slightly classier than my original impression, but only to the level of school auditorium. It's basically a wedding and events hall and that was indeed exactly what it looked like.

I spent a good hour and a half in line outside desperately trying to finish the previous night's recap while my fingers slowly froze to icicles in the wind. I've forgotten what it's like being cold waiting for a show. I think I prefer sweltering in line to freezing.

I had decided before we arrived that the only appropriate place to watch a show on Dan Miller Day was at the feet of the man himself and that is exactly where we positioned ourselves, bathed in the aura of Dan Miller - lit from within. The down side of this was that it put me directly in front of a large speaker and I went almost immediately deaf in my right ear as soon as JoCo started playing. Everything coming in that ear is muffled, even now.

JoCo completely changed up his set today. He and Brandon commented part way through the show that they were playing the high energy Jonathan Coulton set. He didn't do a solo song at the beginning, starting right off with the band on Code Monkey. They followed it up with Shop Vac. (Side-note: we drive past a giant Shop-Vac building on our way to Pittsburgh and wished we could have taken a picture.) He pointed out that TMBG were playing tonight with the gleeful enthusiasm of an excited fanboy. Then a double set of Artificial Heart tracks with Sticking It To Myself and the title track. Jonathan said it felt good to have a new album out for the first time in 15 years. He also keeps talking about how the song Artificial Heart is a clever marketing ploy to get people to remember the name of the album.

They brought out Big Bad World One for the first time this tour. He said the song was about feeling awkward in social situations and when a bunch of people cheered he called them nerds.

Then Still Alive and Sucker Punch. JoCo teased Christian before the later song because he had to be reminded how the song went. I was really happy that made it back into the set as it's one of my favorites from the album.

And finally I Feel Fantastic. Great set, even if it did start me on the road to permanent hearing loss. When JoCo came back out for his stuff, the guy with the photo pass to our left asked him if he could photograph the setlist and JoCo gave it to him. But the guy totally didn't get it and then went to put it back after he got his picture. So another fan down the way ended up snagging it because none of the people in the front were big enough JoCo fans to care. It was a little silly.

Marty's drum has acquired a new drum head but it is blank, sad and completely void of alien life. I had never realized until I had the drum head in my hands that the alien and lettering are carefully applied pieces of tape put together to make the design. Apparently, no one had the time to reapply all that tape to the new one before the show. I'd gladly volunteer for that art project given the opportunity.

The Giants played the exact same set as Pittsburgh, right down to reusing the setlist. Two days on each setlist seems to be the pattern.

I'm not sure I had ever fully noticed before that when the intro starts and Marty bolts onto the stage in the dark as he always does, that Victor is actually standing next to the drum riser with a flash light shining it along his path so he doesn't trip over anything. He then flips it back to light up the floor for whoever approaches that side next, in this case Danny. Just one more funny little thing to add to my mental catalog.

Linnell handed out the signed Join Us vinyl this time, in a change of pass. There was a serious scrabble of hands reaching for it.

Flans started right off by announcing that it was Dan Miller Day and heaping some praise on Dan. He started off The Guitar like he was narrating the beginning of a biopic on Dan. "It all began here for Dan with..." And then he started the song. Instead of having Danny and Linnell take the solos, Flans surprised Dan by yelling "All I want to hear is the electric guitar!" Then he had all of us clap, spin around in circles and chant "Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan" while Dan played (not many people, myself included, could really execute the spinning in the crowd). Flans said that just like Ocean's 11, they were currently planning an elaborate raid on the nearby House of Guitars. "No one will suspect that while we are doing this show, we are also stealing all of the guitars for Dan."

In the middle of The Guitar, Danny completely thrilled some girl standing in the middle of the front row by leaning down and saying something to her while he played. I have no idea what he said, but it clearly made her night. (Another side note: Since I started writing I have seen the full story on this, which is really rather cool, but not my story to tell.)

This time it was Dan having monitor troubles and he spent a good portion of the next song or two with John Carter hanging off his back attempting to fix it while he played, moving around as he did. It was pretty ridiculous to watch. Eventually, John just got a new one and Dan went back stage briefly to change it out after shaking off John's offer to try to attach the new one while he played.

Sadly, all of my memory of any of the banter in the first break before We Live In A Dump is gone. It might come back to me later but for now it remains lost.

There were people doing some serious Birdhouse pogoing behind me. During Clap Your Hands, Flans yelled "Dan Miller, stomp your feet!"

For Battle of the Planet of the Apes they brought out a random trombone player to join the Johns and the apes. I didn't catch his full name but his first name was Rick and he was apparently a Rochester native. No more explanation was given than that.

The people versus apes war began even before they started the show, as we prepared for our rolls and it was loud and fierce. Flans, for once, was very clear about the instructions. I don't know if that was a factor or if it was the addition of the trombone but this battle was hugely successful and loud! And for the first time this tour, the apes (myself included) won! We were just too loud and over powering not to. As the trombone player left the stage, Flans yelled "Get that man a T-shirt!"

Flans said they've been doing the song for three weeks now and the people always win but he didn't feel he could just throw it to the people Halliburton style this time. Especially with the joie de vivre the apes had shown.

I think there was some additional banter here too but it's also lost in my memory.

Before The Mesopotamians, Linnell said the song was about a Near Eastern rock band who had a TV show in the 60s that he had been allowed to stay up late to watch for reasons he could not remember. There was a girl behind me who was VERY excited about this song. Linnell started joking that they weren't actually going to play the song, they were going to play it how he remembered it because he couldn't remember how the actual theme song from the show went.

The Avatars segment started with Flans welcoming us to Don Kircshner's Rock Concert and announcing tonight's guests: Sparks, David Bowie and The Commodores. (In restrospect, this is how they started the segment the night before too.)
After some stuff about being contractually obligated to sing a TMBG song, the Avatars went back and forth, both in a stage whisper, in a very aside about TMBG."Those guys are mean. They're really mean. We have to whisper or the parole bracelets will go off. At the end of the night they stick us in a suitcase. And who wants to be in a suitcase? No one! Just because we don't have arms. Or bodies." And then they suddenly went back to full volume with "Let's hear it for They Might Be Giants! Those guys are great!" At the end of the Avatars segment, Blue thanked the House of Guitars for sponsoring the show.

As Linnell went to get the accordion for Particle Man Flans told him to wait and asked him where the giant poster was. Linnell said he didn't know, but someone held it up back stage and he ran (yes, ran) back to get it. He helped Flans unroll it and Flans talked about it again. He once again talked about how they thought it was a brilliant idea at first but now it wasn't selling and it seemed like a terrible idea. He suggested it as excellent dorm room decoration and then at the end of the year you could sell it on eBay. People in the crowd really wanted him to give it away and he was obviously torn, but got out of it by presenting it as a gift to Dan. He said again that it was too expensive to give away.

Somewhere near the end they talked about some of their upcoming shows but all the nearest ones were sold out so Flans said nobody could go to them and they'd have to go to Detroit. He said they have a new video for Cloisonne coming out on Monday that will be released on It is apparently a live performance video featuring the entire band. "Faces! Places!" I found this announcement terribly exciting!

Flans made several jokes about finding them online at and on Twitter @fountainsofwayne. Linnell suggested we could check Jonathan Coulton's website for their tour schedule.

Have I mentioned yet that I figured out what Flans was having Marty program into the electronic pad for Istanbul several night back? Instead of the gong signaling the transition from Dan's solo to the song, Marty has started turning on the siren sound which often used to be part of the Avatar intro. So the siren now wails over the first few measures of the song proper.

After Lie Still, Little Bottle, Flans said he thought he heard some drunk guy in the crowd requesting Istanbul, which they had already played. Then he did a brief band intro that initially looked like it was going to resemble the crazy one from the night before but only Dan really did his crazy noise.

And the night got to appropriately close with Dan's screaming guitar solo in Damn Good Times.

We got completely trapped at the front of the stage during the sticker distribution, smooshed in by Marty's feet while people reached over our heads. This did give us the opportunity to note that Marty has a piece of tape on the end of his shoe that says "Hi!" Teehee.

Victor had to reach down and around behind Marty to give me my setlist and gave me a really funny look that was either "Why are you stuck over in the corner?" or "Why are you still here?" Either way, it was funny.

And thus ended Dan Miller Day. I definitely feel like I haven't retained as much of this show as some of the previous ones and I've remembered at least three things from the Pittsburgh show that I forgot to mention while I was writing this one. I'll definitely have to go back and do a follow up post of all the stuff I forgot. But I did get some great pictures from this one so hopefully that will make up for anything I've neglected to remember.

Song of The Day - Day 305

Today's song is...

Employee Of The Month

I do not really care for this song. I don't really have a good reason why. I think it might be because I find that slide whistle sound really grating. Though it is kind of cool that you can hear people breathing while playing it at the end. And the guitar is kind of nifty. Ah, I am just not capable of completely disliking a TMBG song. They all have redeeming qualities.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Puppets Managing People

September 14 - Byham Theater - Pittsburgh, PA

Somewhere in my fangirl contract it states that I must make at least one trip to Pittsburgh every year and this year I've made two (the other was for JoCo and Marty). The roads in and out of Pittsburgh and I are getting to be old friends.

Tonight's theater may just have been the fanciest yet. The lobby alone had a much classier air about it than any of the other recent venues.

We stopped at the merch stand because our friend Marci who joined us for this stop, needed to pick up her IFC loot. Gary was considering one of JoCo's new Good Morning Tuscon T-shirts, when I noticed that the TMBG stand had acquired all new 2011 tour tees and hoodies. I, of course, needed these immediately. The T-shirt features an ape with raised fist (ala Battle For The Planet of the Apes) in technicolor orange and yellow on a white tee. It also says They Might Be Giants 2011 Tour on it, and then lists all the tour dates on the back. Available in men's and women's styles, people!! The hoodie is gray with the same ape in blue on the back and the standard Road Crew imprint on the front in white and blue. I love them both and am, in fact wearing both as I write. Apes everywhere!

The theater proved even fancier than the lobby with scultures of cherubs dancing on the ceiling and a fresco of scantily clad and topless women over the stage. Our seats were at the end of the third row, perfect for escaping to the stage front.

Jonathan opened with Skullcrusher Moutain again. (Did I say yesterday that he had played the same set as Norwich? Cause he didn't. He played Fancy Pants instead of Skullcrusher. THIS was the same set as Norwich.) He let us sing the last chorus ourselves and a really impressive number of people in the crowd were able to sing along, given that he is only the opener.

I think I might have been the only person to fill in the blank when he quizzed us on the name of the title track from Artificial Heart and I only did it cause no one else was answering. It got a good chuckle out of him.

Right before the bridge in Shop Vac, he managed to accidentally yank the chord out of his guitar. The band played on valiently while he laughed quite a bit and plugged it back in, making cracks about swearing he was a professional. Afterward, Brandon complimented him on the muffled guitar effect he had produced. Jonathan said he had used technology to achieve it so effectively.

He repeated a lot of the same banter introducing Tuscon and Nemeses, as he has pretty much every night. The hazard of hearing the same songs introduced six nights straight. And he successfully executed his lead in to I Feel Fantastic tonight that was made so humorous last night because Christian missed his cue.

Side note: There was a photographer who must have had a press pass photographing all of JoCo's set and she was using an uber-bright flash the entire time which was really blinding and distracting. I'm surprised it was allowed to continue for so long. She was right behind me for TMBG's set too but had turned the flash off. She was also informed by theater staff that the had to stop photographing after about five songs. She hadn't been bothering me nearly so much at that point but the flash earlier was obnoxious.

We did some strategic planning between acts on how best to compete with those in the rows in front of us for the stage footage in front of the drum riser, but it was essentially a non-issue as we just plain moved faster than most of them, or they didn't care to move. The other group of uber fans across the aisle from us snagged the space to our left, making for a very enthusiastic corner.

The band changed up the setlist a little bit tonight. More just rearranging the songs than changing what was played. Here's how it ran:

Guitar - When Will You Die - Judy Is Your Viet Nam - Ana Ng - Celebration - We Live in a Dump - Birdhouse in Your Soul - Clap Your Hands - Withered Hope - Battle for the Planet of the Apes - Cloisonne - Mesopotamians - Spoiler Alert - New York City - Particle Man - Doctor Worm - You Probably Get That A Lot - Careful What You Pack - Istanbul - Can't Keep Johnny Down. Encore - Lie Still, Little Bottle - Fingertips - Dead. Encore 2 - Damn Good Times

Marty got things started with some hearty kick drum into The Guitar. Flans remembered at the last second not to swear and instead said "mother loving bass" when introducing Danny's solo. Linnell also took a Future of Sound solo, after which Flans said, "Thank you, John" which amused me for some reason.

At the end of the song, while we waved at the lion, Flans pretended the show was over and started thanking people and saying goodnight. Heh.

After the song, Flans somewhat oddly yelled "Good evening people of Mr. Small's!" I believe he merely meant to riff on the fact that they usually play Mr. Small's in Pittsburgh and thus the fans would have seen them play there. But it was a bit confusing, especially considering he kept talking about Mr. Small's and never once mentioned the name of the theater where they were playing. Couldn't have made the people who worked for the Byham feel very appreciated but it was certainly funny.

I got super confused by the end of The Guitar because Danny mysteriously vanished from the stage without me noticing where he had gone. I could still hear him playing from somewhere out of view but I could not for the life of me figure out where he had gone until I saw him climb back out from behind the sound board at the side of the stage minus his in-ears, partway through When Will You Die. Apparently they weren't working and he had gone back and had John Carter detach them from him while he played backstage.

He finished the song without them and John came out with either new ones or repaired ones before they started Judy, but Danny waved him off because Marty had already started the song. The really funny part was watching John and Danny's mad race to get them back on while the band plowed into Ana Ng, obviously trying to get them set before the first chorus where the missing bass would be terribly noticible. It actually seemed at first like the band was gonna riff for a while on the opening to wait for him, but Linnell missed that memo and started singing so they were forced to proceed without him. And damned if they didn't get everything back together again to slide back in perfectly to that first bass rhythm I love so much. Go team!

They faked me out playing Celebration so early in the show. Never EVER gonna complain about hearing it, but I like it better a little later in as an energy booster post-puppet show.

Flans has started marking the first banter break on the setlist with "dudes". This thoroughly confused the band in Norwich the first time it appeared but now it seems to be multiplying and is written in a couple of times.

Flans joked that a quarter of the show was now over. He was also drinking tea. What's up with that? He commented that they usually play at Mr. Small's in Pittsburgh and how nice it must be for us to have a little space around us rather than having everyone banging elbows.

I am absolutely certain there was an entire other conversation that occured in this break but I have no memory of what it was. Maybe someone else remembers? The only part I do remember is at the end someone placed a poster they had made on the stage and Flans commented that people had started putting things on the stage so it must be time to get back to the music. He said he just wanted one more sip of tea and told Linnell to introduce the song.

Linnell said the song was written by Mr. Flansburgh and that it was about living in a dump. They started they song, but Flans completely bungled the start of the vocal. He had everyone stop and explained that he had gotten distracted doing some inner exploration of the true meaning of the song. He made a joke about therapy that I don't remember the details of, before starting again.

Linnell's version of calling for the guitars in Birdhouse tonight was "You know what I'm talking about." Incidentally, the previous night he yelled this same thing after the first time he sang "make a little birdhouse in your soul."

As Marty started up the intro for Clap Your Hands, Flans started making paging announcements about a lost drum kit on stage. He was paging it's owner, then issuing warnings that the drum kit was going insane. Meanwhile, Marty was revving up for one of the most collosally epic drum solos I have yet seen him perform. He just kept going faster and faster and faster as Flans egged him on until his entire arms were just a blur and it did not seem physically possible that he was still playing a rhythm (and he was).The crowd around me was also going insane and I believe there was a collective "wow" issued from the audience as he slipped back into the clapping rhythm as if nothing had happened.

As the Flans started to sing, Danny started gesturing at the drum to Dan and Marty. They weren't getting what he was looking at until he walked up to the bass drum and started poking at the alien to illustrate that the front of the drum had split clear across the front. I've seen Marty wreck some pretty good shit, but I think I can honestly say this is the first time I have actually seen him LITERALLY wreck his one good drum kit. Now THAT's rock and roll!

I totally forgot to clap as I watched fascinated as Danny went to explain the situation to Victor and Victor came out to receive some instructions from Marty (except I realized afterward, I think I was clapping subconsciously). Victor went hunting for something in a trunk while the guys on stage finished the song and proceeded into Withered Hope.

As Flans explained how Battle for the Planet of the Apes was going to work and started a people versus ape war between the floor and the balcony, Danny gestured Victor out onto the stage. Victor proceeded to use a utility knife to slice the drum head away from the drum which was a vaguely painful thing to watch as the poor little alien was striped away leaving an open drum with a sand bag in it. Immediately, the guy off to our left started asking for the drum head but it was whisked away back stage.

Unsuprisingly, the people won the battle but Flans said he sympathized with all the lefty apes. He keeps making jokes about Rise of the Planet of the Apes and how he hasn't seen the movie but that one day the apes will rise.

Flans talked again about the upcoming Dan Miller Day in Rochester and encourage people to drive up. He said Dan would be accepting cookies and cakes at the merch stand throughout the evening and in fact even during the show, as Dan would be sitting that one out to gorge himself at the merch stand. Linnell suggested that perhaps there Cleveland show was closer but he got a ton of "boooos" from the crowd. He was quite surprised at the apparently animosity towards Cleveland and said he had touched a nerve. Flans pointed out that the Cleveland show was sold out so if these people wanted to see another show it was either going to have to be Rochester or Grand Rapids. I believe Linnell also suggested Detroit or Chicago, and pointed out they would be on the west coast in November. Then he said that pretty much if you were in America, they would be getting to your city eventually. And Flans contributed "We just want our country back" which got a lot of cheers.

Then Flans brought out one of the giant Join Us posters and started to unroll it on the stage. He said usually steered away from any of the obvious associations with the word "giant" but that they couldn't resist making these posters. He said they had had them on sale in Asbury Park and sold like 8 so they were really excited and brought a ton of them. But now no one was buying them (which explains why they have dropped the price twice already since the tour began). He suggested that if you had a barn or a really tripped out dorm room you should buy one because they had been really expensive to produce. Someone in the crowd suggested they sign the poster and Flans said that was the best thing about the poster: they didn't need to sign it because it was so huge you could sign it yourself. Then someone asked if they could have the poster and Flans said no, he was going to use the same one tomorrow because it was too expensive to give away.

Then as he was going to hand the poster back to someone back stage he tossed the plastic wrapping onto the drum riser so a bit of it was sticking into the open bass drum. Marty yelled "Hey, no, no, no" but Flans didn't here him and Marty was trying to attract Danny's attention to come remove it for him. Eventually Linnell picked it up and handed it to Marty for proper disposal.

After Cloisonne, Flans said he had been looking at the wiki and there were people on there calling the bass clarinet a bass sax. "It's the black saxophone."

When Linnell was introducing The Mesopotamians, he said that their new album was getting a lot of great reviews but that a lot of them seemed to have these back-handed jabs at The Else like "It's way better than that last album." And he said he was still really pleased with The Else. I wanted to tell him that, while Join Us is my new favorite, The Else was my previous one and remains my number two. Flans joked that there was only one good song on The Else and it was the one they were about to play.

The Avatars pretended to be phoning in from London again. Flans had his hand on the side of Blue's head like his was holding in an ear piece and was receiving messages from someone saying that they couldn't hear him. Blue asked Green if he had been checking out that new Jonathan Coulton album. Green said he had. Blue said he really liked it and it was great was was happening for that guy's career but he really envisioned capes. He thought the whole band should be in capes. Then he just kept saying capes. He said he was going to get a cape. Then he remembered he didn't have any arms. Green pointed out that he had just had a hand. The hand reappeared and Blue seemed to be getting a message in his ear piece confirming that he didn't have any arms.

Blue said his next career move was going to be band management. "Puppets Managing People." He said that was going to be the name of his company, P.M.P. Apparently, people are puppets too.

Then he said he was interested in other things too, like singing songs and began singing "Best Friend" by Harry Nielsson. Green joined him briefly. They didn't do the whole thing but at least a verse and a chorus. Finally, they eventually got around to doing Spoiler Alert.

The most significant setlist change they made was dropping Alphabet of Nations in favor of New York City.

During the accordion section, Linnell asked Flans what the Anthony Hopkins ventriloquist movie was. The guy off to our left yelled Magic. Flans called the guy his personal Google and pretended to enter Anthony Hopkins Ventriloquest movie into Google and then the guy yelled Magic again. Then Flans asked Linnell what the movie was like. Linnell said it was like their lives with the puppets. He said it was uncomfortably similar.

Danny almost could execute a successful Doctor Worm leap because Flans was in his way, but he managed it all the same. Not nearly the height gained as the previous night.

Flans decided near the end that he wanted to do a band intro. He told all the guys to pick a specific noise on their instrument to represent themselves. He said to use the one they thought was really cool but typically had no practical application in a show. They he said to play it when he got to them and keep it going until they were done.

He started with Marty, introducing him as Skellbaby. Marty leaned his elbow deep into one of this toms and drummed next to it with a stick as he released and reapplied the pressure.

Then Flans introduced Danny, as Skellbaby's brother, Norg (or at least we think that's what it was) and Danny added a super fuzzy sliding noise that sounded like a motorcycle to the mix.

At this point Marty switched from his elbow to his foot, putting one shoe on the top of the drum and pressing it a good inch into the surface. I almost missed the rest of the intros because I was trying so desperately to get a picture of Marty standing on his drum.

Next up was Dan, aka, Skullbaby's sister-in-law, Lisa. I don't even remember what Dan's noise really sounded like except it was really screechy.

Flans introduced himself as Ding Dong but sadly we have forgotten what Linnell's pseudonym was. He added some Kaoss Pad noises to the mix while Flans made ugly noises with his guitar and it all came together as one of the ugliest sounding band intros in history.

Dan did another great Istanbul intro but had to do one of those funny things where he stopped and had the audience stop clapping because he wasn't ready yet. Then he instructed everyone to snap later, but they all clapped instead. They did two fake endings to the song and Flans did his foot hopping RIGHT in my face. He also came out and bowed to both sides of the audience during one of the last songs and leaned right over my head in very imposing fashion.

During on of the encores (I think) Flans said they loved Pittsburgh, they loved Mr. Small's, they loved all the venues. Linnell said they even loved the Electric Banana. Lots of jokes were made about this about the statute of limitations having passed on the Electric Banana. Flans still remembered it being horrible and advised to avoid the Banana. "The Banana is actually electric."

Flans announced that they would be passing out Join Us window clings after the show. He said they had like 8000 of them because they had realized from working with children that they liked free stuff and could be satisfied with something really cheap.

After the last encore, the guy next to us asked Marty about getting the drum head and Marty pretended to purposefully mishear him and mimed picking up the entire drum like he was gonna hand it to him.

I got totally trapped at the front due to sticker distribution and ended up having to climb over chairs to get out of the way, and then climb back out again to get my setlist from Victor. Then I had to wait a while longer for Gary to get unstuck from the other side.

In the meantime, I was being entertained by Marty, who, as he neared the end of his line of people waiting for stickers, put the pile down on the stage and told be to each take one and announced that he was going to supervize the proceedings. Then he stood, nodding gravely at each person who filed past as they took their sticker.

Eventually, I was really only hanging around because I wanted to see if Marty was really going to give that other guy the drum head (and I thought, maybe if he did, he might give me the snare drum head he's been giving out every night since almost everyone else had left.

And I was glad I stayed because otherwise I would have missed seeing Marty lie down on the drum riser and rest his head on the sandbag inside his newly open-fronted bass drum, tuck up his feet and pretend to take a nap. It was pretty much the most adorable thing I have ever seen, FYI.

Then he walked back stage and picked up the tattered drum head and appeared to be looking for something. Wow, thought, I. He's gonna give it to that guy (who was also still waiting around) after all. He turned out to be looking for something to cut it fully apart with so there were two pieces, I assumed because the guy had a buddy waiting with him and that way they'd each get a piece.

What I did not count on was Marty to came back out with the pieces of the drum head and hold them up, catch my eye and mouth "Do you want one?" Um....yeah! Then he indicated I should pick which half I wanted. Here presented a conundrum, because I wanted the half with the little red alien on it rather than the part that just said "They Might," but I felt like a should let the other guy who had been waiting for it have the better half. But I figured, Marty did give me first pick so I picked the one I really wanted. Oh my goodness, the grin on my face was probably ridiculous.

Marty said this wasn't gonna happen too often. I agreed. I can't even remember if I thanked him. I hope I did.

Fortunately, the winner of the other half was really good natured about it, and we took pictures of it pieced back together before going our separate ways. Pretty sure I will never get a cooler souvenier from the band. Marty has been far more generous with me of late than I feel I have earned. He really is the sweetest guy :-)

One more show down. Two to go. This week anyway :-)

Song of The Day - Day 304

Today's song is...

Old Pine Box

I just talked about this one in my album review, and like I said, this one is all about the percussion for me. The tambourine, the clicky rhythm at the beginning, the drum roll in the bridge. And even though it's really simple, I really like the contrast of the kick drum beat under that drum roll. I was really curious when I was first listening to the song, if it was possible for someone to keep up both those rhythms at the same time with two different parts of their body or if it was two different tracks. I'm leaning towards the two tracks as Marty hasn't been playing both rhythms live. And man, I love those handclaps. And I love all the sharp consonants in the lyrics. I've been kind of fascinated to see how Marty tackles getting all the percussion sounds into the song live. It's a combination of the electronic pad and the actual drums. And he actually puts his tambourine on top of the hi-hat and then uses the pedal action to get the tambourine sound. Clever. Very clever. And of course, very pretty guitar.