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The Soft Boys
April 5, 2001
Pine Street
Portland, OR


You'll Have To Go Sideways
Queen Of Eyes
Old Pervert
My Mind Is Connected To Your Dreams
Kingdom Of Love
Underwater Moonlight
I Wanna Destroy You
Human Music
Leppo And The Jooves
The Bells Of Rhymney
Sudden Town
Insanely Jealous
Rock'n'Roll Toilet
Only The Stones Remain
Mr. Kennedy
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask
The Lizard
Face Of Death


From Natalie Jacobs

The problem with getting your hopes up too high about a show is that you're always going to be disappointed. The show last night was not the magnificent orgasmic experience I was expecting (and had been led to expect by accounts on the list), but it was still pretty goddamned good.

Ahh, the Young Fresh Fellows. Such verve, such joie de vivre, such... ewww! Some of Scott McCaughey's spit got in my face! Uh, anyway, their songs were great but not as great as their, shall we say, stage presence. The drummer is completely nuts - he has a cymbal and a wok mounted on a tall springy thing which flips back and forth, nearly hitting him in the head at times. Kurt Bloch IS a rock n' roll god. He's chubbier and more double-chinned than the last time I saw him (about ten years ago), but still has that funny squeaky voice. Scott was far more unhinged than at the staid Minus 5 gig - he took a "nap" during one song (with a carefully-arranged towel as a pillow) and staggered around insanely during a hilarious mock "blues" song. It was at this point that I received the bounty of his saliva. But I didn't mind too much.

And now, the Soft Boys. My first thought was, "Oh, fuck, Robyn's wearing THOSE pants again." (You know the ones I mean.) My second thought was that they looked really, really tired - except for Kimberley, who was as spry as ever, and apparently ageless as well. Morris hasn't aged too well - he looked to me like one of those jowly Middle-Eastern guys you see running restaurants or convenience stores. He wore sunglasses for most of the set. Matthew Seligman is way cute, in a mild, affable English sort of way, and doesn't look like a lawyer (or whatever he is).

They took a while to get cranking - although I nearly levitated when they launched into "Queen of Eyes" (the second song), it didn't feel very energetic. But soon they kicked into gear and started rockin' more vigorously. I noticed that the other three Soft Boys seemed to be having a lot more fun than Robyn - I saw lots of smiles, and Kimberley's grimacing was particularly enthusiastic (and, as always, completely inappropriate to whatever he was playing). I think Robyn may have been sick, but he had the stage presence of a rock that night. He got a little more enthused later on.

There were a number of highlights to the show. "Leppo and the Jooves" was fantastic - I never thought it would be easy to dance to, but it was. "Underwater Moonlight" was great, though Robyn's monologue about fish and donuts was nearly inaudible. (The sound wasn't too good in general - the vocals were too low and I could hardly hear the bass at all.) I nearly collapsed when they did "Insanely Jealous," and then... the encore... oh man... "Only the Stones Remain"!! Fuck yeah!! Robyn made appropriate, melodramatic hand-gestures during this one, and I danced my ass off.

As for the new stuff, I liked "Sudden Town," didn't like "Mr. Kennedy" so much, and there must have been other new stuff as well - there was something which sounded distinctly "Jewels for Sophia"-ish, and therefore not very good. I know I'm forgetting some other great stuff... "I Wanna Destroy You" was marred by the aforementioned bad sound - I couldn't hear the harmonies properly, though I could in other songs. Morris and Kimberley sound great together. My friend Jeannine was marvelling at how good their voices sound. Maybe they don't smoke...? Kimberley's guitar-playing was also especially brilliant. His solos even got applauded several times. (Kurt Bloch received similar treatment, and deservedly so.)

Towards the end of the show, Matthew broke his E string. (This is the thickest string on the bass, for you non-musician people.) I have no idea how he managed to do that. I don't even think he was playing with a plectrum, so he must have massively strong fingers or something. The string hung down comically while Matthew soldiered on with three strings, even refusing help from a roadie. Mark Sandman, master of the two-string bass, would have approved.

After the show, there was much aimless milling about by fegs while I went to give Thoths to Matthew and Morris. "What is it?" Matthew asked curiously, and I said, "Robyn knows what it is." Morris seemed confused. I wonder if he was annoyed that I was paying more attention to that cute Matthew than him...

woj <woj@smoe.org>