Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hospital For Bugs

March 1, 2013 - The German House - Rochester, NY

The drive from Burlington to Rochester was by far the most picturesque I can remember experiencing to a show. If only the weather had been a bit nicer. It was just too damn cold and the wait to get in was painful. Not New Year's painful, but painful nonetheless. It was not helped by the vagueness of the actual doors time. I think it ended up being somewhere in between 7 and 7:30. I just know it was later than I wanted it to be. And it eventually started to snow.

I got a chance to see lots of friends at this show, though most very briefly. Perhaps most exciting, I got to meet my Twitter friend Kara for the first time.

I was very disappointed with the Rochester crowds' treatment of the opening act. The entire back of the room never shut up during Vandaveer's set and there was a loud din of conversation that could clearly be heard even over the music. Yeah, I know these aren't the guys you came to see, but show some respect for the band and for the people who actually do want to listen and stop talking for 30 minutes, or at least lower the volume. I've seen a whole hell of a lot of opening acts in my time, and I didn't love all of them, but I don't remember a crowd ever being as rude to one as this one was. Maybe I've just been spoiled. I don't know. But it was disheartening and I felt awful for the band.



Fortunately, the crowd was better behaved for TMBG, though I did hear from a friend that there was a lot of moshing going on further back in the crowd that made it not so fun.

Prior to the start of the show, Flansburgh came out on stage and announced that there was going to be a video presentation honoring local animator David Cowles, featuring some of his work for TMBG. They showed the videos for The Mesopotamians, We Live In A Dump, I Never Go To Work, Put It To The Test and The Ballad Of Davy Crockett In Outer Space. Then Flans brought Mr. Cowles out on stage to receive our praise. Flans said that because he was an animator people never clapped for him so it was nice to be able to show him appreciation. Then they showed a 30 second preview of the new video Mr. Cowles is working on for Icky. It is the sort that features photographs of human heads on animated bodies, similar to I Never Go To Work or the Paleontologist video, though the bodies and background were a very different style. Almost more like they were pieced together from various found materials and animated with stop motion, than hand drawn or computer animation. And the brief clip they showed included a scene where the primary character bit another character's hand off. Ewww. But the video looked like it will be pretty cool.


The bummer of this show was that they played the exact same set for the third night in a row. They are breaking in a new lighting designer and I am sure they were trying to give him a chance to settle in as well as let themselves get comfortable with the new material. But it was a bit disappointing for the repeat customer. And of course they changed it up a bit the following night when I wasn't there. Figures.

So since the setlist was the same, I'll just point out the parts of the show that were unique.

After the first couple of songs Flans said how nice it was to be back so close to the House of Guitars. Flans also noted his lack of hair gel and how alarming it was to look in the mirror and see Moe from the Three Stooges looking back. But he had decided to go with it. Flans asked Linnell how his day was and if he had done anything good. Linnell replied that he had slept a lot of the day. Flans said that he was woken up to find himself on public radio. Linnell said they had been reciting poems by William Carlos Williams, a task that many rock bands were not up to.


Flans broke his guitar just a few songs into the show. He noted that it was never good to find pieces of his guitar on the stage, as he picked one up and passed it off to Victor. I was really amazed at how fast Victor had the neck entirely off the guitar, backstage, and pieces all put back on, and the guitar restrung and retuned. It was ready to go again just a few songs later. Guess that's what they pay him for.

House of Guitars was actually a running joke throughout the show and Flans later said that Dan, a Rochester native, was no stranger to the House of Guitars. He also said that when they arrived at their hotel today Dan had declared, "this is where they had my prom." Some good natured teasing along the lines of "and now look where you are" followed.

Linnell also make a joke at one point, twisting the name around to Guitar of Houses, which I believe they said sounded like a horror movie.

When Flans was introducing Linnell of the bass clarinet, Linnell mimed throwing the clarinet out into the audience. With the stand on the end, it looked really effectively like a harpoon.


Flans mentioned the failure of the first run of Battle for the Planet of the Apes the previous night, during his explanation of the rules. He made it clear this time, that competition was the only point. He also made some jokes about the spot light operators who perfectly dived the audience in the balcony and their lack of beards. Flans seems to think most spot light operators have beards. Personally, I thought that my "people" team put in a very weak performance, but we still won. Flans noted that the people have the advantage of an extra band member on their team. He also declared, "it's not's fake."

When Linnell did his accenting the wrong syllable thing again, Flans called him on it and said that it was a trend that had to stop. Linnell told him that it was an OCD thing and claimed he had to do it. He asked Flans if he knew what OCD was really like. Flans then joked about needing to touch the microphone repeatedly, but later admitted that he had no idea what OCD was like.


The Avatars started their segment by doing their own version of Insect Hospital, which was a rap consisting of the lyrics "Hospital for bugs" repeated a number of times. It was quite entertaining. During their performance, Marty could be seen back stage taking the picture that he later posted to Twitter of Dan playing He's Loco. He even used the flash on his camera. Bad Marty! :-)


Flans played around with his robot voice effect before Nanobots. He said something about the voice sounding funny and Linnell told him he thought is sounded totally normal. Then Flans said, "I can't really tell what's going on," and Linnell replied very off handedly as the song was starting, that that sounded normal as well. I laughed a lot at that one. The tone of the delivery was perfect.


During the 123 Band Intro, Linnell instructed us to "clap like Joan Rivers" and then kept chanting "Joan Rivers." Then Flans started a call and repeat saying "when I say elbows, you say 'don't.'" In reference to the fact that Linnell was demonstrating the clapping with arms outstretched and elbows unbent. Apparently, in his mind anyway, like Joan Rivers.

While doing his intro solo, Linnell brought back The Rockford Files, playing a little bit of the theme as his solo. Dan followed suit with his own solo, playing a bit of the guitar part. Then, even though he had already gone, Danny jumped in to follow up with a little bit of the bass part. Marty, sadly, dropped the ball on it though and just did his normal drum solo. Maybe he didn't think the drum part would be very recognizable.


Linnell did some very amusing dancing during the encores. At one point he approached the keyboard doing sort of tip-toe steps and had his arms out so that he looked like a T-Rex. And then during Alphabet of Nations he was doing this wavy arm thing that was totally ridiculous. I really appreciate the fact that he is that goofy and just doesn't seem to give a crap about what anyone things about it. Maybe because he knows we really all find it adorable.

Danny also started messing with the keyboard while Dan was playing Alphabet of Nations again. He came up on Dan's left and started hitting keys, until Dan looked at him and I could seem him saying "what are you doing?" Danny started laughing and then came around to Dan's other side, standing all up in his space in front of the keyboard while they mockingly fought for space and grinned with these foolish boyish grins. It was one of those moments that made the fangirl in me go "awwwww, look at the boys having fun. It's so cute!" And I was very sorry I didn't get my camera up fast enough to capture it.

Danny was apparently in a very goofy mood by the end of this show, as during one of the songs at the end (damned if I can remember which one), he picked up the drum sticks that Marty had given him to use on the ape battle, and starting playing a drum rhythm on the top of his amp. He looked very entertained by his own joke.

Flans once again pointed out that they had copies of their yet to be released album available at the show and that if we acted quickly we could make a killing on eBay.

And that is all I can remember of this particularly goofy show. I was sad to leave the tour behind for a while, but the 19 straight tour dates this break allows me to attend should make up for it. Also, woohoo! I am finally caught up on recaps for the first time in a year and a half!! I hope I can make it last!

1 comment:

  1. Just getting a chance to read some of your concert recaps - nice to read about a show I was actually at! Rochester people can be super rude - as you found out during the opening act. I was equally as pissed. And there was dancing and moshing back where my niece & I were - very drunk people. Super annoying. But the show was great otherwise - and it was my first one! :)

    Nice to meet you too! Hopefully get to see you next year when they are touring again!