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The Soft Boys
March 26, 2001
The Paradise
Boston, MA

Setlist

You'll Have to Go Sideways
Queen Of Eyes
Underwater Moonlight
Old Pervert
My Mind Is Connected To Your Dreams
He's A Reptile
Kingdom Of Love
I Wanna Destroy You
The Pulse Of My Heart
Evil Guy
Leppo And The Jooves
Airscape
Insanely Jealous

First Encore:
Human Music
Sudden Town
Rock And Roll Toilet
Only The Stones Remain

Second Encore:
Where Are The Prawns?
Mr. Kennedy

Third Encore:
The Bells Of Rhymney
Face Of Death

Reviews

From The Kenster

the fresh young fellows are loud, raucous, and hysterical. a great mix of covers and originals. i'm still not sure who's more entertaining, the guitarist or the drummer. the boys were in great form. the new songs are fantastic, especially 'mr. kennedy' with the argument between kimberly and robyn's guitars. the one-two punch of 'airscape' into 'insanely jealous' was a dream come true. and who could've predicted three encores? the crowd was very responsive.

From The Great Quail

Having acquired a taste for the Young Fresh Fellows the night before (Whoa! This is probably not the best way to open the next paragraph), I was almost as psyched to see them as the Soft Boys, and they did not disappoint. Playing a different set than in Irving Plaza, they might have rocked out a bit less, but had even more fun. The highlight for me was when Kurt Bloch broke a guitar string (the high E) and had to complete his solo and the whole song by transposing everything on the fly. Perhaps finding this to his liking, he celebrated the event by deliberately breaking all his strings on the final song, ending the set with some bona-fide Neil Young one-string air raid screeching. Again, though their set featured less "must have been written while hopped up on goofballs" songs, I still loved it, and now feel obligated to find entire YFF catalog on CD. Goddamn it.

The Soft Boys came on soon after, opening with "Sideways" and then kicking off into a set that left me even more impressed and breathless than the night at Irving Plaza. Perhaps it was the venue, perhaps it was the bizarre snowfall, or the sight of Eddie, or the fact that a security guard didn't punch him in the kidneys backstage; but Robyn was looser, looked more enthusiastic, and seemed to have a lot more fun than he did in New York. He was also more chatty, spinning off monologues between the songs and pleasing me greatly with accolades for the Mongolian Gerbil, of which I have two, Nibbler and Twinkle. (Who have their own photo page, by the way.)

Unlike the Rewish night in New York, I was right under Matthew, which was a good thing. I'm one of those music geeks who loves watching a bass-player's hands, and I have to say I appreciated his playing a lot more -- I think also the mix might have been off at Irving Plaza. (Of course, I was also closer to his monitor in Boston!) Matthew did some lovely things, including some very spidery hammering through "Human Music" that really made the song for me.

Overall, I have to say this show was even better than the other one. The whole band seemed more together, and were having a lot of fun. They also played a few more songs, stretching their set into three, count them, three encores. Though I didn't get my "Silver Wands" or "Astronime Domine," I got to hear "Underwater Moonlight," "Where are the Prawns?", and "Face of Death," none of which were played in El Apple Grande. Highlights for me were again "Old Pervert," and "Underwater Moonlight," which featured Robyn going off on a tangent. And "Element of Light" was even more sublime than the other night; I am not embarrassed to say it brought tears to my eyes.

But though this may be heresy, I can't say I like the song "Evil Guy," and hearing it again made me realize that and get comfortable with my ehhhh-ing. Though a second-time through made me warm up to "Sudden Town" and that Zzub Zzub song, both of which didn't quite grab me initially as much as "Pulse of My Heart" and "Mr. Kennedy." If they do cut a new album, I only hope they write a few more kinetic, psychedelic songs to offset the slower-paced new ones. Imagine what the Soft Boys would do with newer songs in the vein of "NASA Clapping," "Adoration of the Cities," or "Antwoman!"

Oh, and it was also pleasing to see Scott McCaughey just offstage most of the concert, a huge grin on his face, mouthing the lyrics to various Soft Boys tunes and bopping his head happily.

After the gig, the Fegs hung around in photogenic clusters. A bouncer tried to remove us, but Eddie whacked him with a fresh Overbury Stick, and I don't think I have to tell you where he got that from. After that incident, the security were terribly cool, letting us congregate peacefully and take photographs of each other for Nick Winkworth and NakedFegs.com. I slipped out to the merchandise table for a moment to acquire a few crab-pins, and when I returned I spied Kurt Bloch, on stage packing away some gear. Filled with a bubbling sense of post-gig merriment, I pointed my finger at him and remarked, "You fucking rock." I was surprised when, instead of glancing furtively at me and scurrying away, he walked over with a big smile and began talking. (And for those of you that may be wondering, he really does converse in a strangled, distracted squeak that frequently trails off into tittering. This is not a stage voice.) In fact, he really enjoyed talking, and was quite the Chatty Cathy, not to mention a capital fellow. (I love saying that.) Aaron came over and joined in, enlivening the conversation with actual knowledge of the cover songs played, something I am afraid I lacked. (Heck, I just began listening to Nick Drake a few months ago, and I couldn't point out Jonathan Richman in a police line-up.)

Shortly thereafter, Matthew and Morris came out, followed by Kimberley. (Robyn was upstairs, talking to People Who Weren't Fegs.) Soon a series of very lively conversations ensued among clusters of Fegs and various Soft Boys. We were happy that they all knew Eddie and Bayard, and Morris even told Eddie that his Web site was missing some gigs. Among other things we discovered:

Eddie and Bayard then handed Morris and Matthew the Wish List -- a list of songs we would like to see played. To our pleasant surprise, they really looked the list over, commenting on each one. (Though some were dismissed as "Andy's songs," which didn't invite further speculation.) While Morris thought that a cover of "Rock Lobster" would be a lot of fun, they immediately nixed "Ballad of a Thin Man," though they said they've been playing "It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" during sound checks. "The Asking Tree" and "Way Way Hep uh Hole" were somewhat favorably received; though "Positive Vibrations" was dismissed. It seems Robyn doesn't like the song. Though he claimed to like the song himself, Morris said "Robyn wrote it when he was in a bad place, and no one seems to see that the song was meant as just the reverse." And Matthew's response was to laugh incredulously and say, "You mean you really *like* that song?" For some reason, they avoided further discussion of "I've Got the Hots," saying they played it at the beginning, but dropped it.

From Jill Brand

I went to the show with no expectations, no idea what would be played nor in what order. I liked that. I was continually bowled over by favorites that I could never have expected to hear. Exceptional were Kingdom of Love, Underwater Moonlight, Insanely Jealous, Queen of Eyes, Only the Stones Remain, Rock n Roll Toilet, Leppo and the Jooves, and that song that he said he wrote in Austin (something-or-other city); of course everything else was great as well. The band was so tight that they could have walked into the studio right then and there; there was no shuffling and excuse making for the fact that they hadn't been a band in 20 years. The band could clearly appreciate the fact that the audience was giddy with excitement. Although a number of you seasoned veterans traveled here to see the show, I figure most of the audience (probably the same people I had seen the other shows with back in the pre-Internet stone age) had not seen the reincarnation of the Soft Boys and they were wildly appreciative. I've never exactly been able to figure out if Robyn is enjoying himself, but from the number of mini-set encores (3) and the intensity with which they played, I had to assume that the transcendent being himself was pleased. Robyn's introduction to I Wanna Destroy You, in which he pondered the roots and paths of capitalism and relegated Dubyah to the trash heap he belongs in, went over very well in this most Democratic state of the Union. It occurred to me that the last time I saw Robyn, Ronald Reagan was president, and the litany was eerily similar. When the show ended, I stood stunned for a while, went to buy a t-shirt (*that* will go over well at my kids' various sporting events), and was told by my friend that there was a gathering of people in front of the stage taking pictures. Since I have done that at all manner of Kinks-related gigs, I figured that it was the Fegmaniacs, buoyant and hypercharged after a great show. Hello to all of you; maybe I'll meet you next time.

From Stefan Cooke

My first "real" gig was the Soft Boys at Alex Wood Hall, in the original Cambridge, sometime during the summer of 1977. I used to live around the corner on Sturton Street, and tagged along with some mates on a Friday or Saturday night. I was 14, and I remember there were several cans of lager involved. Patrik Fitzgerald ("I've Got a Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart for You") opened. My memories of the night are pretty hazy, but I know I was thrilled to meet Robyn and Andy (this was of course pre-Kimberley) after the gig. Robyn gave me his handwritten set list, which I still treasure, and I got their autographs. I also remember that I was right at the front of the stage (there wasn't much competition: the place was far from crowded).

So last night's gig was special, since it brought back memories of Cambridge (I moved to the Boston area in 1986) and of being 14 again. I arrived early and got a spot right next to the stage (again), this time in front of Kimberley. I was very impressed with the Young Fresh Fellows, not having heard them before. Great drummer, and they were obviously having a fantastic time on stage. The singer is a huge Soft Boys fan, and I watched him watching them from the doorway to the dressing room for much of the set, grinning like mad.

The Soft Boys were a lot tighter than I thought they'd be; amazing that they only got back together recently. The connection Robyn and Kimberley have on guitars is quite something and was a pleasure to watch from eight feet away or so.

They played a long set, about 1:50, which included a third encore that I don't think anyone expected (I didn't anyway). I had my fingers crossed that they'd play Astronomy Domine, but it wasn't to be. However, it was a terrific set, in particular the rendition of Kingdom of Love, which couldn't have been better. The new songs were great too, particularly the one about Mr. Kennedy (at least I think it's a new song), and Sudden Town.


woj <woj@smoe.org>