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The Soft Boys
March 21, 2001
9:30 Club
Washington, DC


You'll Have To Go Sideways
Kingdom Of Love
He's A Reptile
Old Pervert
My Mind Is Connected To Your Dreams (correct title for A Part of Rock'N'Roll)
Underwater Moonlight
Queen Of Eyes
I Wanna Destroy You
Evil Guy
Leppo And The Jooves
Sudden Town
Insanely Jealous
Only The Stones Remain

(First Encore)
Human Music
Rock And Roll Toilet
The Bells Of Rhymney
Mr. Kennedy

(Second Encore)
Give It To The Soft Boys (Morris with The Young Fresh Fellows)
City Of Shame
Where Are The Prawns?


Brian Cully has posted several on his website.


From Melissa

oh my god that was good. just highlights will let someone else do the full report

they keep getting better and looked like they were having much fun did the usual + rock and roll toilet YFF did a truly amazing version of Give it to the Soft Boys

they looked like they were having much fun

From Ross Taylor

Got my daughter safely stowed by 8:30, so got to show 1/2 way thru YFF. They didn't actually blow me away--lots of big crunchy cords. Nice funny shtick tho, semi Spinal Tap w/ "Your Truth, Our Lies."

Didn't get to meet any listees(snif). Chatted up a few likely folks. I've been to few enuf RH concerts there's still an element of "what do other fegs *look* like?"

Is it just my experience or is RH getting to be more of a physical performer, dancing w/ Grant Lee, & now these big arm gestures w/ his big arms? Seems in the past he more likely kept his arms on his guitar during a monologue.

I'm appending my notes from late last nite. In the interest of fragmentation & decay I'm not editing them.

morris minus mustache; morris minor microphony -- I couldn't hear him sing. Complaint. Barely heard Kimberly sing. But KR's guitar was great & so was MW's drumming -- cool toms. Ol perv was better because drums were louder. Toms on queen of eyes very byrdsian.

who KR looks like: w/ basic manic smile & haircut, very like David Crosby in old byrds videos; expected him to fly into stoned harangue about Pres. Kennedy's murder conspiracy. W/ some of his really big grins looked like short version of Red Skelton; expected harangue about Gertrude & Heathclif. Up close w/ the chiseld cheek lines & the coiffed silver hair got some Keith Richards effect. A visual plus as well as sonic.

Robyn inspired in monologues -- meringue harangue -- "I was too young to be a hippie so I became nihlistic" --plus the whole thing. Also people on both sides of the primal mouth in UM.

New songs so good it's driving me crazy, but I don't want audience tape. I'll just have something to look forward to. Between old song & new song "That was from the old album, this is from the new album." Particularly Mr. Kennedy. Bits of "Astronomie Dominie" guitar squeaks in the jam.

Afterwards waited around taking cues from someone who needed a cone signed. Found RH a bit late, gave him Wash. Review copy w/ info, said I wanted to ask him about novel. "Well I've got to finish it. I go around telling people what I'm doing & then I don't do it." Sounding guilty. Somebody gave him a present. He was being rapidly re-absorbed by his normal life "I've got family stuff to do." So I didn't get to say "If you're taking a long time on the novel, good for you." Still want to try to contact him about his stories, & sonic book. Which was not in evidence for sale.

Kingdom of Love-- "...in the physical..." his shades fall onto his mouth "...kingdom of time..." he gets them off. Now it's all memory.

Well they didn't levitate the Pentagon, but yesterday it was cold & rainy & today it's sunny & warmer. The Soft Boys brought Spring to the nation's capital. Gooey stuff at the tips of branches.

From Ben

Well I drove nearly 8 hours to this gig and it was worth it! It was clear they were enjoying it too with lots of smiles all around, especially when the YFF's beat them to the stage to play Give It To The Soft Boys! This was the first time I have seen Robyn play with a full band and I hope it is not the last, the interplay between him and Kimberly is great especially on the new song Mr. Kennedy. As are the vocals, their harmonies are just as good as on the record (21 years ago!). Well that's all I will report, except that I almost ran right into one Mr. Hitchcock when I entered the club!

From Chris Gross

Speaking of heavenly, the music itself was great too. So was the Philly show, which I decided to attend at the last minute. On the whole I think the DC show was slightly better; in particular I liked "I Wanna Destroy You" in DC a bit better, along with the accompanying Bush monologue. I also liked having the YFF come out for an encore. (What did happen to their drummer, anyway?) And the DC pants were just incredible. (They glowed like a key lime iBook!) But don't get me wrong, the Philly show was great too. I particularly enjoyed "Queen of Eyes" that night.

From Soft Heart

9:30 club ( Imagined Food )

Oh yessss.All you Young Fresh Fellows gottagivittothesoftboys! They played "RocknRoll Toilet"! I swirled like a turd in the beautiful patterns that bounced off the wall! I got stuck with a thousand jerks in a ****beautiful headspace*****

From Steve Graziano

Thursday's performance of the Soft Boys at DC's 9:30 club turned out to be a magical night of triumph for the band. Support was provided by the Young Fresh Fellows (who I only knew through a 1992ish Frontier release called "It's Lo Beat Time" which didn't too greatly impress me. They actually had a very punchy sound - both guitarits playing through Fender Twin Reverbs - that provided a nice cross between 60's garage pysche and late 70's power pop. At times they reminded be of both the great late Slickee Boys and Sweden's Nomads. Maybe there was a touch too much comedic schtick in the act but they genuinely seemed to be having a great time performing, as if in on a great party and really thrilled to be opening for the Soft Boys. I particularly enjoyed their cover of the Kinks "Picture Book".

The Soft Boys opened with the instrumental - as if still unsure of themselves and the hall acoustics using a time honored technique of allowing the sound man a full song to set levels before worrying about getting the vocals across. The mix never quite settled in (though the YFF had great sound) with Morris's drums undermixed throughout, and the guitars strangely brittle. The vocals were quite prominent and clear, and Robyn's off the cuff monologs quite comprehendable. My only disappointment was Seligman's bass was practically inaudible on Kingdom of Love, which cut off the bouncyness of the song, and that the band didn't play "I Got the Hots For You".

The inclusion of five new(?) songs was a major suprise and I'm not sure if they are indeed new compositions or numbers from Robyn's solo work (but they're not on Moss Elixir or Jewels for Sophia - the only post Element of Light CDs of his I own). All five are clearly in Robyn's newer songwriting style - straighter, certainly less quirky, though the arrangements are still open (or new) enought to allow a great Televisionesque call and response double guitar solo at the end of Maybe It'll Rain (all new song titles are what I guessed, Robyn didn't announce any of them except to mention that You're A Part of Rock and Roll will be "on the next album"

I imagine that the band will only get tighter (there were a couple of noticible fluffs Thursday night, but it was only their fourth gig in the tour) and the new songs will grow into their own. Here's to hoping that this is the spark of some new Soft Boy life, and not just an exercise in nostalgia. I for one would greatly look forward to a new album.

From Ted Borie

This was one of the best shows I've ever seen. The opening band was Fresh Young Fellows. Though not particularly young, they were rather fresh. And although we weren't sure that their lead guitar player was indeed a fellow, he kicked ass. They were pretty fun - started off with Born to Be Wild and then played their somewhat Southern Culture on the Skids type stuff. The drummer was an extremely bizarre, but funny guy. He seemed to be on mushrooms or something. Though he was good, he kept doing this thing where he'd kinda spastically just kinda wave his drum stick at the cymbal instead of hitting it. More on him later.

The Soft Boys were having a blast and didn't seem rusty at all. I'd never seen Robyn with a band before (just solo twice) and though I knew he was a very talented guitarist, he really impressed me. Kimberly Rew was reminding us of Angus, the guitar player from AC/DC, the way that he was moving around. They played their tamer songs for the most part, Old Pervert being the exception. But no Vyrna Knowle You're a Headbanger or oddities like I Got the Hots, even though some guy was holding up a sign for them to do it. Robyn played a Fender Telecaster, Kimberly played a Start, and Matthew Seligman played a Fender Precision. I always though that Kimberly played a Gibson from the sustain that he got, but he wasn't missing it. And he was constantly shaking his guitar to keep it going. They had Fender amps, too, so I'm guessing Fender is a tour sponsor. The new 9:30 is a great place to see a band and it was moderately full.

Here are the songs they played.

You'll Have To Go Sideways - right off the bat, Robyn had his sinewy fingers all over the guitar. Kimberly had an e-bow on his guitar and it was killer.
He's A Reptile
Queen of Eyes
Old Pervert - kicked ass
I Wanna Destroy You - said he originally wrote this for Reagan, but now it'll work for Bush just fine.
Mind is Connected - new one
Underwater Moonlight
Sudden Town - another new one
Only the Stones Remain
Pulse of My Heart - new
Insanely Jealous
Kingdom of Love
Leppo and the Jooves

1st encore:
Human Music
Rock and Roll Toilet
Mr. Kennedy - another new one with Robyn and Kimberly trading licks and playing with each other. It was really tight and sounded great. They really compliment each other.

Then Fresh Young Fellows came out and played
Give it to the Soft Boys - they did a great job. Morris Windsor played drums. When Robyn came back, he said that FYF's did it better than the Soft Boys could and that he hoped that their drummer would recover. Hmmm.

Then the Boys came back and did
The Bells Of Rhymney
Where Are The Prawns

The songs really held up after 21 years. And the new ones sounded really good. More like the late 80's Robyn than anything else. I hope I didn't over sell the show. To be honest, I figured that it was gonna be OK, so maybe all of Bush's crew's policy of diminished expectations made it better for me.

woj <woj@smoe.org>