BnL Live at the Klein, November 2010 – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-11-21 12:24:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

See the Set List HERE.

On the heels of my previous BnL concert review, posted little more than three months ago, there isn’t much more that needs to be said, other than to underscore several assertions concerning the Barenaked Ladies.

First, it really can never be too soon to see them play live again.  After seeing them in August with decent seats and having had an outstandingly fun time, I almost considered letting this second New England tour stopover pass me by.

Almost.

Being fortunate enough to live in an area that is located in, as a friend recently referred to it, the “Barenaked Belt,” it simply doesn’t make sense to not take advantage of it.  And, this time around, the venue was considerably smaller – Mohegan Sun Arena being 9500 capacity, and the Klein Auditorium being only 1400.  We sat front row balcony, or “mezzanine” as the theatre people say, and got some performances that probably wouldn’t find their way into a stadium set, songs like the rarely played “Moonstone” and “Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel.”

A second assertion, and perhaps the main thrust of my August review, is that BnL is every bit as good as they were when Steven Page was in the band.  This is surprising, as he is such a unique talent and a man who brings considerable stage presence and energy to the live shows.

And, for the record, let’s be clear that I would love to see the five-man band reunited at some point down the road.

But, for now, the four-piece Barenaked Ladies are still a force to be reckoned with, and they have apparently decided that no catalog item is off limits, regardless of how much of a “Steven” song it is/was.  Take, for example, the fairly standard middle of their order, a veritable greatest hits of Steven Page tracks: “Sound of Your Voice,” “It’s All Been Done,” “Too Little Too Late,” and “Brian Wilson,” all topped off with the not-so-subtle “You Run Away.”

A third assertion is one that struck me early in the set last night: the Barenaked Ladies are the rare group of men that have gotten cooler as the years pass.  One needs only to compare their image and sound from the excellent and not-to-be-slighted Gordon era with their current stage show in order to appreciate just how cool they’ve become without losing too many fans to claims of selling out.

They have such a vast array of music, and to a certain degree, they allow for it in their set lists.  Although there are certain songs that you can reasonably expect (and in certain orders), there is room for adlibs and unexpected deep tracks, songs like those mentioned above.  Even songs that have been played about ten thousand times over their career, like “One Week,” have taken on a fresh appeal.  With Kevin Hearn singing the Page parts of “One Week” last night, I think they’ve finally perfected their recent live arrangement of this, their best-known composition.  Likewise, Tyler Stewart and Jim Creeggan have stepped up their game, Stewart bringing down the house with his reinvigorated, Jack Black-esque approach to “Alcohol” and Creeggan with his on-stage gesticulations, ear-to-ear grin, and acceptance of the spotlight for tracks like “On the Lookout” and “Peterborough and the Kawarthas.”

Finally, as if it needs to be said, Ed Robertson is a force unto himself.  His white man rapping helped to establish the band’s public image, and he is ever willing to put himself out there for a laugh.

When I choose the words “put himself out there,” I mean that literally.

Last night, as a tribute to their excellent opening act Jukebox the Ghost’s final night on tour, Robertson emerged from backstage with only a towel on.  Then, positioning himself between keyboardist/lead vocalist Ben Thornewill and the audience, he opened his towel so only Thornewill could see him and proceeded to dance to the music.  He moved around the stage and repeated this process for the other two band members.  Meanwhile, the crowd was laughing and clapping and screaming, and guitarist Tommy Siegel laughed his way through his vocals.

As Thornewill pointed out after the song, he could only see Robertson in his peripheral vision at first.  When he reached his hand out to pretend to tickle him, he found that Robertson was indeed wearing only a towel.

Never let it be said that the “Barenaked” part of their band name hasn’t been earned.

Forgive me for getting up on my soapbox yet again, but BnL continues to be one of the most underappreciated rock music acts of the modern age.  If you or someone you know hears “Barenaked Ladies” and instantly thinks “goofy,” “funny,” “If I Had $1,000,000,” and/or “One Week,” then check bnlmusic.com for a tour date in your area.  One show and you’ll be hooked.  Guaranteed.

I’ve been a fan now for over a decade, and they continue to recapture my interest and adoration each and every time I see them live.

As I climb off my soapbox, I bid you good day and hope this review might at least inspire a spin of Maroon or Stunt.  Or Gordon.  Or Maybe You Should Drive.  Or Everything to Everyone.  Or…

Well, you get the idea.

“Looking To You” (Indie Music – by songwriter Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2008-01-16 12:01:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Thanks again to Jeff for coming up with “Original Wednesday”, as I think it’s a great way to work some of our own material in here!

Today, I’m doing one of my songs from an album I made back in late 2003 called “That’s All…”. I couldn’t stop listening to this song (yes, I listen to my own music quite a bit- I think I should be making music I actually like listening to!) so I decided to make it my first non-Christmas original here on the Laptop Sessions.

I like the way the verse isn’t very “standard”. I don’t exactly know what prompted my creation of it, but it’s always stuck out as both unique and meaningful.

Problem is that I don’t really remember the meaning, either! Actually, I can take a pretty educated guess: Basically, the song says, “I gave you everything. You could’ve had anything. But when I ask for a little something in return, you tell me I’m greedy and hold it against me.”

I must’ve felt this way, as most people do in a relationship at one time or another. I think it made for great song material!

Well, as they say, a Laptop Session a day keeps the doctor away! They don’t? Well, anyway, here’s your daily dose of great music from Jim, Chris, and Jeff!



“Girl Don’t Tell Me” (A Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2007-10-22 01:10:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Well, another day and another installment of the “Laptop Sessions.” This is one that I learned a long time ago and forgot about playing until tonight. Anyone that knows me will know that I admire Brian Wilson’s songwriting the most. His song, “Girl Don’t Tell Me” is truly one of his finest works. Plus, his brother Carl sings an amazing lead vocal that I can only hope to emulate in my version.  This is one of Carl’s earliest lead vocals and I’m glad Brian gave Carl the opportunity to sing it.  Carl knocked it out of the park and had a voice much more suited to this style of music.

I think my Laptop Session acoustic version of this song actually sounds a lot like the original because it was done with acoustic guitars. “But,” you say, “many songs are done with just acoustics!” Well, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys really used piano as their driving instrument, plus Al Jardine and Carl Wilson took the rhythm and lead guitars (respectively) on electrics almost all the time. Of course, I’m talking about the early records when the Boys recorded the instruments themselves. After a while, Brian and the others decided to have studio musicians come in, which allowed Brian to experiment more while the others were on tour.  I think one of the last vestiges of the Beach Boys playing on their own music (in the earlier years, at least) was their Christmas album.  One the first side (the original songs), you can hear the Beach Boys playing all of the instruments.  Those songs represent some of my favorite recordings of all time.  They’re simply perfect (to me).

But, enough of the Beach Boys history for the time being. But, I will say that you’ll notice how this song sounds more like a Beatles song than a Beach Boys song. Well, with the production done the way it was on the original (like I mentioned before, with acoustic guitars rather than a piano), one can only assume that this Beatle-esque sound was done purposely!  Of course, this acoustic video flies in the face of the logic I was trying to explain regarding the Laptop Sessions cover songs series.  You see, my idea is to strip-away the various instruments in a song to get to the simplest form.  That way, you can hear the song for what it is.  So, songs that you might not necessarily have liked can be given new life here on the music blog.  With “Girl Don’t Tell Me”, however, that’s not really the case.  I just did a straight-up cover of an acoustic song.  My defense?  It’s a great song- shut up and listen! :-)  But seriously, another function of the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog is to introduce you (or even re-introduce you) to songs you’ve never heard before (or forgot you knew).  And that’s just as important.

This song is really a favorite of mine and I know a certain group of people are going to go, “Oh, wow!” when they see I did a version of this forgotten song! I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more from The Laptop Sessions!


“The Night Was So Young” (The Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-06 22:22:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco.

I promised a new Beach Boys video today, and even though it took me until 10:30 to do it, it’s finally here. Actually, this is one of the rare Sessions that was recorded the same day I’m posting it.

I’ve been practicing this song for weeks now, as I needed to make sure it was perfect before I did a video. “The Night Was So Young” is my favorite track off the Beach Boys “Love You” album and shows the great songwriting skills of Brian Wilson coupled with the singing of Carl Wilson.

I love the minimalist approach to the recorded version of this song- it’s great in contrast to the terribly-dated synth-sounds of most of the tracks. This song also doesn’t have that cheesiness factor that some of the others have. Although, this song does tell of Brian Wilson’s lonely trip to the sink to pour some milk at 3 am…

I hope you like this toned-down Session. We’re still chugging-along at one-a-day here in 2008. I’d like to wish a Happy Birthday to my brother, Mike, who’s 22 today. Hope you had a great one!!