Tuesday, March 5, 2013


December 30, 2012 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY

Night two of the New Year's Eve run in Brooklyn. I got there earlier, though still not as early as most of my friends, and thus spent even more time freezing my ass off. However, this day included an expedition to get delicious waffles at Waffle and Wolf which broke up the time nicely. And I only really started to freeze once I stopped walking around and started sitting on the sidewalk waiting.

We returned from our waffle excursion in plenty of time to see more parking adventures. Today we got to watch both Marty and Linnell attempt to get their Priuses (Prii??) into the same too-small-even-for-a-Prius parking space. Flans and Robin arrived via taxi. How glamorous.

I got to experience the stupidity of the barrier assembly myself on this occasion. It really was one of the dumbest attempts at crowd control I have witnessed.

Once inside, I ended up way down on the left side of the stage with all the boys from our crew. Not even sure how that happened.

The Last Car #1

Tonight's opening act was Robin's band, The Last Car, which includes Chris Anderson and Amy Miles (hope I am remembering her name right). I hadn't seen them before and really enjoyed them. They did a very short set with some very funny little songs in it. They had given each other an assignment to write a 30 second song especially for this show. Amy had completely forgotten, which she blamed on her six-month-old. She gave it a go anyway, playing Chris's guitar, which he had to hold for her because the strap was absurdly long on her. Robin did hers in French? I think, and it was too long for the assignment. And I don't particularly remember what Chris's was but they were all funny. They also did a cute song about pets that included a shout out to all their pets, including Flans and Robin's cats. And I think there was also a song about vegetables if I am remembering correctly. They were very enjoyable and I hope I get to see them again.

The Last Car #4

TMBG setlist: Where Your Eyes Don't Go - When Will You Die - They Might Be Giants - Letterbox - Someone Keeps Moving My Chair - Cowtown - Lie Still, Little Bottle - Pencil Rain - Call You Mom - Purple Toupee - Road Movie To Berlin - Hot Cha - Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love - Insect Hospital - He's Loco - Ana Ng - Piece Of Dirt - Women And Men - Cage And Aquarium - Hearing Aid - Minimum Wage - 123 Band Intro - Birdhouse in Your Soul - Hey, Mr. DJ Encore - Cloisonné - The Mesopotamians Encore 2 - Mr. Me - Whistling In The Dark

There wasn't a lot of banter in this show. They moved pretty quickly from song to song. And similarly, I don't have a lot of pictures from it, because they changed the lighting dramatically from the night before and it was extremely unconducive to photography. Lots of colors and bright flashing lights behind that band's heads.

There was a period of banter before Letterbox while Flans attempted to tune and adjust his guitar. Linnell commented, jokingly that he and Flans had coordinated their wardrobes for the night. I believe this was a reference to the fact that Linnell was wearing a simple white ringer tee while Flans was dressed up in a blazer and button-up. Flans said that he was preparing for the big New Year's Eve show the next day and that the previous night he had dropped a bottle on his head at midnight. He asked Linnell to talk about the next song while he adjusted his pedals and Linnell explained that the song had the highest density of words of any song. Except maybe for one Meat Puppets song, he said. Which was a dead give away that they were going to play Letterbox.

TMBG 12/30/12 #3

Stan came out to join them for Cowtown and they played it with the two clarinets once again. Flans said it was the first song he and Linnell had ever worked on. "Just last week," quipped Linnell. "Rehearsals were short.... and acrimonious," added Flansburgh. Flans got Stan to play a little on his clarinet, encouraging him to do the Benny Goodman thing, which Stan did, very, very briefly, before they played the actual song. The audience provided excellent "wooos."

TMBG 12/30/12 #6

Round two of Call You Mom was just as exciting as round one and Linnell remembered all the words. This and Insect Hospital were the only new songs that got a repeat play at this show.

I once again got to enjoy watching Marty employ Victor as a tambourine holder during Road Movie To Berlin. This is a very serious role that requires years of training ;-)

TMBG 12/30/12 #8

TMBG 12/30/12 #9

My position in front of Marty at this show provided me with the perfect opportunity to get the video of him playing Sapphire Bullets that I have always wanted. I just love watching how he spots that cowbell like a dancer spotting a turn and hits it perfectly every time. (Or almost every time. I did see him miss one hit entirely once a couple of years ago and he looked very annoyed with himself.)

Flansburgh talked about the new album before they started Insect Hospital. He said it was called Nanobots (pronounced Naanobots) unless you were in England or inside Linnell's head. He noted that some people called it Nahnobots and some Naanobots and intelligent people everywhere disagreed on what was correct. He also noted that it had 25 songs most of which were under 2.5 minutes long and that one was under 14 seconds long. Linnell pointed out that one song was over three minutes long. Flans called in "super indulgent" and said they would have to take that song out back.

TMBG 12/30/12 #11

Then Flans took a moment to introduce the band. He noted that Marty was "playing the living shit out of the drums." He declared Danny to be "the Jesus Christ of bass players," which Danny responded to by briefly taking the pose of Jesus on the cross. I laughed a lot. And Dan Miller, "no explanation needed."

Insect Hospital played into the Avatars again, which I think will become typical. The Avatars pointed the camera at the audience at it was pretty blurry and washed out by the lights so they made some jokes about invisible people and people without faces. When they pointed the camera back at themselves, they made a crack about being on Channel J (which had also been mentioned the night before) and said that the video feedback had them looking like ass. Blue explained that they had a new album coming out called Whaaa? It is apparently being released my some currently defunct label that is coming back just to release Whaaa? And then they did He's Loco again, once again riffing about Artemis Johnson at the end of the song.

Dan Levine joined them for Piece of Dirt but was late arriving to the stage. Flans briefly thought he had screwed something up because Dan didn't appear and Danny was discussing something with Linnell, but it turned out they were just trying to figure out where a noise was coming from. Flans explained that he was just still playing one long low note on his guitar from the end of the last song, "like Carlos Santana." "Because this is where the music comes from," he said, pressing his first to his heart. Dan eventually appeared on stage and Flans said that playing the euphonium was a recessive trait among musicians. Then he made some cracks about Dan not getting ready fast enough which lead to a recurring joke about being "really close" to starting the song. Finally, they had Dan soundcheck a few notes and Flans declared the euphonium "the most majestic of the oversized instruments." And then they finally got to Piece Of Dirt.

TMBG 12/30/12 #12

Linnell elected to play Women and Men on his accordion and then had to confirm which key the song was in. Flans said that unlike most band who memorize all of their songs, they forget them all immediately after they play them. Linnell said that the different sets each night of the run were not for the audience but so that the band would be most confused.

Linnell played an extended accordion outro to Cage and Aquarium that got quieter and quieter. Flans asked that the bass be turned way up for Hearing Aid and then spent some time at the end of the song scratching his guitar pick on his mic. He also made some amusing noises on the low notes in Minimum Wage.

TMBG 12/30/12 #14

The only other thing of great note from the end was Whistling in the Dark. They turned off all the lights except for a disco ball high up on the ceiling and played the song with the room illuminated only by disco ball reflections that looked like stars. It was beautiful and looked really, really cool. I even noted that there was a disco ball shadow on the ceiling opposite where the spotlight was shining on it, that looked like a solar eclipse, adding to the outer space feel.

Post-show we continued The Meatball Shop tradition and I added a delicious ice cream sandwich to my very tasty broccoli and meatballs. That place knows how to do food. And I, once again, retired to Queens to prepare for the very, very long day that followed.

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