Barenaked Ladies Live in Concert: Fri., August 6, 2010 at Mohegan Sun – A Weekend Review Special Edition

Originally posted 2010-08-21 12:59:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For the set list, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

To the public eye, and even to some fans, the Barenaked Ladies’ break with Steven Page is a loss that could nullify any future efforts in the band’s name.  This is understandable to some degree, as Page has appeared to be one half of the band in their most well-known singles (think: “If I Had $1000000” and “One Week”).  If Page is gone, some have said, then perhaps it is time for BnL to close up shop.

Anyone in attendance at the Mohegan Sun arena on Friday, August 6 would beg to differ.

(Correction: anyone with any sense, which is clearly not everyone based on other reviews which have been posted on the web, in particular.)

The truth is that the Barenaked Ladies achieved live in concert what they recently achieved on record with All in Good Time: reminding their audience that their three supporting members are more than simply support members.  Kevin Hearn, in addition to being a skilled multi-instrumentalist is a songwriter in his own right.  And this is nothing new; remember “Sound of Your Voice,” the standout third track on Are Me?  Remember “Hidden Sun,” the hidden track on Maroon?  Yeah, those were Kevin Hearn songs, each another good reason to sing “Hold on, here comes a Kevin Hearn song” to his new track “Another Heartache,” as Mike had us all doing in the car on the way to the concert.

Jim Creegan is not only their bass player, but has released numerous albums apart from BnL, many with former Lady Andy as the Brothers Creegan.  Recently, he has begun adding his songs to BnL albums again, and it may come as a shock to realize that the band’s best singer is arguably a man known more for his background vocals than his leads.

Tyler Stewart has always been the guy who makes you laugh.  He’s a good drummer, but we’ve known that.  Well, starting with “Allergies” on 2008’s Snacktime, Stewart has asserted even his lead singing voice.  In the absence of Page, Stewart has accompanied frontman Ed Robertson at all of their All in Good Time promotional interviews, from radio to VH1, and his voice can be heard in a brief but significant role on what should have been the latest BnL single, “Four Seconds.”

Really, it should have come as no surprise that the 8/6/2010 Barenaked Ladies show at Mohegan Sun met and far exceeded any expectations I had for the concert — which were many and various, having seen the five-piece band in action and being the longtime fan that I am.

BnL keychain from their merch table

BnL keychain from their merch table

Aside from the improvisational numbers, the unmitigated high points of the concert were their performances of “Old Apartment,” “Eraser,” “On the Lookout,” “Sound of Your Voice,” and “Alcohol,” each highlighting a different strength of their live show.

Hearing “Old Apartment” three songs into the show was a surprise and a treat.  It was almost as if to make a statement that they will still play their older songs regardless of Page’s absence.  “The Old Apartment” has classic Steven Page lead vocal written all over it, but Robertson did an outstanding job of leading the song as if he, not Page, had been singing it for two decades.  In the encore, they again made a statement with Stewart taking the lead on “Alcohol,” bringing the house down as he stepped out from behind the drum kit (with Robertson taking over there) and channeled Jack Black in his energetic performance.  This was not simply a novelty, like, “Oh, that’s nice that they gave Tyler something else to do.”  This was a surprising, thrilling, straight-up amazing performance of a track I never expected to hear in concert again.

“Sound of Your Voice” was originally performed by its writer, Hearn, in concert until they realized that Page’s presence took the song to whole new level.  Again, I was disappointed to think that I would never hear this song performed to its full potential again.  Not so.  Their new arrangement of “Sound of Your Voice” features Hearn on acoustic guitar, singing lead, and the three other band members singing Temptations-style backup, perfectly voicing the signature parts of the song that were previously hit by guitars and other instruments.  This was an impressive, funny, and yet seriously good version of the song.

When Creegan took to the piano, my first response was, “Wait.  Jim plays piano?”  Making like the Band, the Ladies mixed up instruments all night long, and this was perhaps the pinnacle.  Creegan’s performance of “On the Lookout” was beautiful and perfect, except perhaps for the absence of Robertson’s “Let’s roll this one from the top” intro from the studio recording.  Another piano song that stood out was “Eraser,” introduced by Hearn and Robertson competing to see who could hold out the “Eeeeeeeeee-” note longer than the other.  Suffice it to say that this ended with Robertson pretending to fall, ending up “unconscious” on his back.  Even the songs from their children’s album held up here, and “Eraser” was every bit as impressive as the other, more “serious” songs.

True to form, a Barenaked Ladies concert wouldn’t be complete without improvisation.  Twice during the night, the four-piece experimented musically, sans Steven Page who had always been their most theatrical member.  In his place, Robertson put together a hilarious medley of Herman’s Hermits’ “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good” and a rap about gambling at Mohegan Sun, the latter of which was a theme returned to all night in their stage banter.  Then, with Hearn on piano for a medley of recent pop songs kicked off with the 1974 Pilot song “Magic” — best known for the chorus line, “Oh, oh, it’s magic, you know” — Robertson, Creegan, and Stewart performed a dance number that not only caused the most energetic crowd reaction of the night, but was also fantastically choreographed and obviously well-rehearsed.  The next time I have to explain BnL to someone who has only heard their hits, I will mention this final improv:  they didn’t settle for being goofy; instead, they put together a tight performance that demonstrated just how seriously they take their on-stage personas.

The Barenaked Ladies are as tight, impressive, and enterprising a band as they have ever been.  After two decades as one of rock music’s most under-appreciated quintets, save for a short stint at the top of the charts in 1998, it looks like they’re poised to be one of rock music’s most under-appreciated quartets of the new decade.  Their live act is as exciting and as long (in the range of two hours) as my favorite act of last summer, Wilco, a band that has reached what is perhaps their critical prime.  Do yourself a favor and tune in to BnL as well.

The Top Five Rock Artists of the Decade (2000s): NUMBER TWO is Barenaked Ladies

Originally posted 2010-04-19 14:30:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

This is the fourth in a five part series dedicated to the top five rock artists of the decade, 2000-2009.  The criteria used to determine this list were: (1) Quality of Music, (2) Quantity of Released Material, (3) Diversity of Media, and (4) Roles of Artists/Band Members.  Look for new posts coming soon!

By Chris Moore:

As we close in on my top pick for best rock artist of the decade, the decisions are getting more and more difficult.  In an attempt to be as unbiased as possible, I initially had last post’s honoree — Jack White — in the #2 spot.  Then I started listening to All in Good Time, which led me back to their albums of last decade.  After one listen to Maroon and Everything to Everyone, I knew that the Barenaked Ladies belonged in a higher position.  It should also be noted that while I do believe I made the right choice for the #1 slot, I have been a BnL fan for much longer, and they hold quite an important place in my heart where music is concerned.

That being said, let’s get this party started!

The Barenaked Ladies have distinguished themselves in all four of the categories I’ve established (see above) for this list.  They are a constantly evolving group of songwriter/musicians and performers, not content to rest easy at what worked for them in the past.  Throughout this, the second full decade of their existence, they have been prolific, releasing new material in every year except 2009.  In addition to typical studio albums every three years, this decade has seen the release of a greatest hits collection, a DVD compilation of their music videos, a holiday-themed album, a musical production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (the one release in their catalog I have yet to set eyes on), their first live DVD, and a children’s album with accompanying book.

Although the decade ended with the oft-noted and overly publicized departure of founding member Steven Page, the remaining four members closed out 2009 by recording a series of eighteen songs, fourteen of which would find their way to 2010’s All in Good Time.

In every way that matters, the Barenaked Ladies have been a creative force to reckon with — and pay attention to — throughout this decade, and despite the criticism of naysayers, they have a very promising future in the next.


To say that there was a lot riding on Maroon would be an understatement.

After the breakthrough success of 1998’s Stunt (via the chart-topping “One Week”), BnL’s image and career stood to be reconsidered based on what came next.  While Maroon was successful enough to preclude accusations of one-hit-wonder status, their American audience in particular seemed less and less interested in their work as the years went on.  This much is apparent in the charts, each album topping out further down than the previous one.  (As of this writing, this continues to hold true for All in Good Time, which has peaked at 23; in Canada, on the other hand, it has rightfully marked a comeback, hitting #3 which is the highest chart position for a BnL album there since Maroon.)

But numbers are numbers.  There are so many important aspects of modern life which, contrary to the beliefs and attempts of the powers that be, simply cannot be quantified.

Music is certainly one of those.

Maroon is BnL’s most fully-realized, cohesive, balanced album; it is serious, yet entertaining — fast and slow, loud and quiet.  The first half is populated by equally single-worthy rockers like “Falling for the First Time,” “Too Little Too Late,” and “Pinch Me,” the latter admittedly seeming like a wanna-be follow-up to “One Week.”  The second half of the album stretches out a bit, unwinding hauntingly gorgeous ballads like “Off the Hook” and “Helicopters.”  I haven’t even mentioned some of my favorites — “Baby Seat,” “Go Home,” and “The Humour of the Situation.”  This is a true five star album.

Although the album and singles performed well, it was apparent that they were all received with a bit less interest than Stunt‘s material had been (or, more accurately, its lead-off single).  I, for one, think that it is no coincidence that this was just about the same time that I began to lose interest in popular radio and music television.


To avoid going into painstaking detail about every track that the Barenaked Ladies have released since 2000, I will begin by saying that there is a vast sea of reasons to be interested in and entertained by this band.  As much as I felt people should have been more receptive to Maroon, I was flabbergasted at the apathy that 2003’s Everything to Everyone.  How an album that could so masterfully run the gamut between silly and serious, all the while being consistently brilliant — both lyrically and instrumentally — is beyond me.  This album is composed of some truly killer tracks: sardonic songs like “Celebrity” and “Second Best,” upbeat rockers like “Testing 1, 2, 3” and “Unfinished,” a love song like “Maybe Katie,” the oddly foreboding “War on Drugs,” and the stereotypical BnL knee-slappers “Another Postcard” and “Shopping.”

A lack of public praise never slowed them down, as 2006 saw the recording of 29 new tracks.  Where the band went wrong, in this writer’s opinion, was in deciding to release one album that year and a second album the following year.  What ended up happening was the most outstanding tracks were split between the two discs and, with a lack of cohesion between the two discs, the Are Me/Are Men project was simply not as good as it could have been.  Even Wikipedians are uncertain how to classify these selections in their catalog — either as the seventh or the seventh and eighth albums of BnL’s career.  Still, these releases saw the unveiling of a new era for the band — one of independence from major labels and of stretching their musical sensibilities.  Kevin Hearn’s contributions demonstrated the potential that he presented not only as an instrumentalist and singer, but also as a songwriter.  Jim Creeggan’s beautiful vocals also showed significant promise, even if they were only showed off on a silly number.

These three (or four?) albums would be reason alone to consider BnL one of the best bands of the decade.  And yet they didn’t stop there.  In the past ten years, the band has released some amazing work, not the least of which are their holiday album and children’s album.  The holiday album, Barenaked for the Holidays, brilliantly blended Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter-themed songs in one very characteristic collection (think: “Elf’s Lament,” “Green Christmas,” and others).  The latter, Snacktime!, swung far enough to the silly side of the spectrum to be largely ignored by “serious” music critics.  That being said, anyone who takes a moment to listen to the harmonies and instrumentation will realize that Snacktime! is a masterpiece unto itself, two of the best tracks — “Pollywog in a Bog” and “Louis Loon” — being penned by the unusual collaboration of Creeggan & Ed Robertson.  And it saw the lead vocal debut of Tyler Stewart on the rocking “Allergies,” a song that almost makes me feel cool for having season allergies myself.


Far too much has been written about the moments of crisis and tragedy in the personal lives of the Barenaked Ladies these past few years, so I’ll be especially brief here.  If you’ve kept up with music news, you know that Steven Page was arrested on charges of drug possession, Ed Robertson crashed his plane (fortunately with no serious injuries sustained), and Page’s departure was announced in 2009.  All in all, not a wonderful end to the decade.

That being said, the four remaining members — Robertson, Hearn, Creeggan, and Stewart — have vowed to continue recording and performing as BnL.  How well is that going?

One listen to All in Good Time is all you’ll need to answer that one on your own.

Barenaked Ladies SET LIST – 8/06/2010 at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT

Originally posted 2010-08-07 12:03:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Click HERE to read the review!

1)  “Who Needs Sleep?”
2)  “Old Apartment”
3)  “Falling for the First Time”
4)  Improv 1 – “At Mohegan Sun” rap / “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good”
5)  “Every Subway Car” (with Angel Taylor)
6)  “Told You So”
7)  “Easy”
8)  “Eraser”
9)  “Another Heartbreak”
10) “On the Lookout”
11) “Sound of Your Voice” (acoustic)
12) “It’s All Been Done”
13) “Too Little Too Late”
14) “Golden Boy”
15) “You Run Away”
16) “Four Seconds”
17) “Big Bang Theory Theme”
18) “One Week”
19) “Pinch Me”
20) “If I Had $1000000”
21) Improv 2 – “Oh, It’s Magic, You Know” / rap / dance number

22) “Alcohol”
23) “Watching the Northern Lights”
24) “Brian Wilson”

Barenaked Ladies’ “All in Good Time” (2010) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-04-24 21:49:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  5 / 5 stars

I’ll start by addressing the controversy surrounding the release of this album.

It’s only fair to clear the air, considering there’s been quite a lot of debate.  Although many will claim that it all began recently, I trace this issue back as early as 2006.

The issue I’m referring to, that I’m certain is on everyone’s minds, is the pressing question:

Is All in Good Time the eighth, ninth, or tenth album in the Barenaked Ladies’ not inconsiderable catalog?

(That’s what you thought I meant, right?)

To answer this question, you must revisit BnL’s past three releases: Are Me (2006), Are Men (2007), and Snacktime! (2008).  If you’re inclined to count them all as individual studio releases, then this year’s album is their tenth.  If you don’t count children’s albums, then it’s the ninth.  If you file the remaining two as an Are Me/Are Men double album proper, then we’re down to All in Good Time being the eighth.

You may be wondering, is it worth wasting energy considering such minutiae?

I think not.

However, as we stand at the precipice of a new decade of BnL being one of the most underrated and under-appreciated bands in contemporary rock music, it is worthwhile to take note of just how much they have achieved in recent history.

Believe me: the review may well afford you an enhanced understanding and appreciation of the band’s latest effort.

All in Good Time is an album of balance, an album of desperate searching and of confronting denials of satisfaction.  Contrary to stances I’ve read in the few professional reviews that have been written, All in Good Time is not a more serious departure from those fun-lovin, goofy Canadians we “used to know.”  Rather, any serious listener (i.e. no one under the employ of Rolling Stone‘s reviews department) would recognize that BnL’s catalog is deeper than “Be My Yoko Ono,” “If I Had $1,000,000,” “One Week,” and “Another Postcard.”  Particularly in the past ten years, this band has produced some of the most lyrically compelling and instrumentally impressive rock music available.

In many ways, All in Good Time borders on the concept-driven.  From the piano-laden lead-off single “You Run Away” to the deceptively upbeat track two “Summertime,” Ed Robertson and company quickly establish this as a post-traumatic album, a collection of songs that express various approaches toward disagreement and separation.

Please don’t misread my interpretation: I, for one, have found this album to have more depth than your average “breakup album.”  A comparison to the classics — Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, perhaps — just wouldn’t be right.  There is a certain strength of purpose here that other breakup albums simply cannot manage.  That may be why we’re drawn to them: as expressions of how it feels to cope with pain, loss, and even utter devastation of a lifestyle.

Instead, what I hear in Robertson, Kevin Hearn, Jim Creeggan, and even Tyler Stewart’s vocals is a certain solidarity we’ve come to expect from BnL.  When dealing with the most serious of trauma, their levity is woven in, even if it is more subtle than a song about laughing at funerals or running through a lawn sprinkler with your gym shorts on.  Consider Robertson’s line about crashing a party in “The Love We’re In,” to which he adds, “I’ll crash the plane” (referring, of course, to his own plane crash last year).

Additionally, not since their debut with 1992’s Gordon has such a sense of community been apparent in a BnL album.  More recently, particularly with those aforementioned past three releases, BnL has increased the number and degree of contributions from the so-called supporting members, namely Hearn, Creeggan, and Stewart.

In the wake of Steven Page’s departure (fine! I went and said it!), this is precisely what was needed to push the band to the next level in a career that has been marked by consistent evolution.

BnL's "All in Good Time" (2010)

BnL's "All in Good Time" (2010)

Starting the album with such a melancholy track as “You Run Away” — and sending it out as the first single — can only be classified as a bold, honest move on their part.  Either that or it indicates an utter lack of concern for marketing (which is well within their discretion, now, as an independent act).  Regardless, “You Run Away” builds up to such a degree that it’s a bit jolting to return to the beginning, so much does the second half rock out that you’re liable to forget just how slow the opening was.

“Summertime,” the second track, is framed by a big, beautifully crunchy riff and some vocal ba-da-ba’s on the outro that invoke seventies America.  Lyrically, Robertson asks, “How do we make it through the days?  How do we not cave in and bottom out?”  This is a tone-setter for the album as a whole, and as the choral response indicates, “Soon enough we’ll wake up from such a daze…”

See?  Even in an album imbued with such heartache and anger, BnL remains steadfast in their positive outlook.

The third track is one of Hearn’s three contributions, a slow-and-steady lament titled “Another Heartbreak.”  This is a song of accepting an inevitable failure, but, as Hearn sings, “it’s still a chance I had to take.”  This reminds me of that noble truth expressed by Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (Chapter 11).

“Four Seconds” is perhaps the quirkiest, and the quickest, BnL song yet — and that’s saying something.  When I first heard it, I was somewhat surprised that it had not been chosen as the single, especially considering the characteristic Robertson rapping.  It’s the kind of song that makes you happy to have a lyric booklet to refer to as you endeavor to learn the song and keep up.

Next comes a Creeggan track, “On the Lookout.”  This is a beautiful track, making full use of Creeggan’s smooth vocals for a fitting lead.  Like “Summertime,” there are all manner of interesting effects and instrumentation stretching out just beneath the surface.

“Ordinary” is strung together by Robertson’s intricate picking, but this is a track that clearly features the individual vocal and instrumental contributions of each of the other three members.  Like “You Run Away,” this track is an exemplar of the start-out-slow-and-build-up-to-full-speed arrangement.

The muted electric notes at the intro of “I Have Learned” provide an instant contrast with the acoustic “Ordinary.”  The result is a murky tone, as though there is something lurking beneath the surface.  Turns out that the “something” is a passive aggression.  Listen for the notes Robertson (or Hearn?) plays just before the minute and a half mark; if one’s temper being tweaked could be translated to electric guitar, this is what it would sound like.

As “Every Subway Car” rolls out, it becomes clear that this is not an album devoid of love songs.  The spray paint metaphor — the narrator’s handy work being brilliantly described as “urban gardens in bloom” — is classic Barenaked Ladies, and the track is catchy as hell.

Just in time, Hearn returns with a change of pace in “Jerome,” a ghost-town ballad through “Bloody Basin Road” to a locale populated by “bar brawlers and drifters, gamblers and gun fighters, ladies of the evening, and copper miners.”  This really isn’t a story so much as a song that establishes the proper setting for just about anyone to fill in the plot with their own ghosts.  Perhaps that is what Hearn intended: for his listeners to recall the memories that fill their own “jailhouses”…

The Barenaked Ladies have never produced a better angry rock song than “How Long.”  Lyrically and vocally, the song peaks at the middle as Robertson nearly screams, “I know you know I know you… so don’t say it!”  This song is so good that I can almost forget the “it’s for reals” line entirely… almost.

The band pulls back a notch for “Golden Boy,” but the passive aggressive undertones continue, punctuated by a distorted electric guitar under the vocals.  There are so many ways to read into and interpret the lyrics, that I won’t even begin.

“I Saw It” is, no arguments, one of the prettiest, most heartbreaking songs in the BnL canon.  In their twenty year career, Jim Creeggan has written a wide range of eccentric songs, but now that he has punched out several more straightforward tunes, it is clear that he can write with the best of his bandmates when the inspiration is there.  Of all the sad melodies on this album, “I Saw It” is unsurpassed.

Like ripping a band-aid, I’m just going to say it: “The Love We’re In” sounds, at least lyrically, like a song penned by early 2000’s John Mayer.  (Now, don’t get me wrong, as early John Mayer is, in this writer’s opinion, the only John Mayer worth listening to.)  To be fair, the comparison ends after the first verse is finished, but I had to note it.

An extremely brief forty-five minutes after the first piano note of “You Run Away,” the album comes in for a final run with “Watching the Northern Lights.”  Initially, I didn’t think much of this song, but the more I’ve listened, the more I’ve appreciated Hearn’s subtle genius and the more his lead vocal has crept into my mind and lingered there.

What more is there to say?  Instrumentally impressive, vocally brilliant, and lyrically interesting: All in Good Time is yet another Barenaked Ladies album worthy of making the best-of lists.  Don’t hold your breath for the “professionals” to acknowledge it, though: go out and listen for yourself.