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Hear My Brane
Kingdom Of Love
Queen Of Eyes
My Mind Is Connected To Your Dreams
The Man With The Lightbulb Head
Where Are The Prawns?
I Love Lucy
Pulse Of My Heart
I Want To Be An Anglepoise Lamp
Disconnection Of The Ruling Class
The Bells Of Rhymney
When I Was A Kid
Only The Stones Remain
I'm too tired to give a decent review (and, with all the tapers, I didn't see the point in taking down the set list), but here are some impressionistic observations from maxwell's / Friday night with the Feggies in Hoboken --
met up with Max & Cathy Lang and Frank, headed over for chit-chat & (for Max) autograph-seeking on his Fillmore 2001 poster; I gave Matthew a copy of my Baltimore 3/19/01 on DVD ("great, can we put some of this up on the website?"). Asked Morris if he knew who the opening act was going to be -- "I dunno, I don't think there is one. [checks schedule posted on door] Oh, looks like we're doing two sets..." Rebuffed my suggestion that they find some acoustic guitars and work out "Bananas" or "Book of Love" or "Heartaches Begin" before the show... Matthew at least laughed at this suggestion...
later (6-ish), met up with Ben, Tim, Ken Weingold for dinner at the excellent Gobi Grill in Hoboken, then Ed & wife (sorry!) from kalamazoo -- who made it all the way to Hoboken b/c they wanted to see the Boys in Maxwell's, correctly observing that it is a special venue for the band... literally, 5-10 minutes before showtime, Kay + husband + 12 year old daughter (great 1st rock & roll show -- wish my mom was that cool) show up -- which I'm pretty glad for, as I had Kay's ticket... then woj shows up -- did Ferris ever make it? didn't see him. Still, must be at least 4 recordings of the show...
show time, shortly after 10:00 pm. "Hear My Brane" -- damn fine way to start a show, ripping. [after typical robyn-isms between songs]: "and that's all the information currently available, now back over to Chief Moose of Maryland..." (several sniper references throughout). Also, Kingdom, Q of Eyes, Unprotected Love... and The Man with the Lightbulb Head (!) in a great 55-60 minute first set. 30 min break, then back for more. 60-70 minute 2nd set, highlighted by "Strings," "Anglepoise Lamp" (!) ("one of my early songs observing how things change into other things -- and I was right! they do!"), "When I Was a Kid," "Jealous" ... ends 12:50 am, time for one encore anyone ever been to a robyn-related concert with a one-song encore before? I'm betting there's a 1:00 am curfew on live music... plus, the band (esp. Robyn) looked completely whipped by the end -- "Only the Stones Remain" the choice for encore, and in said exhausted state, Robyn sticks to lower registers singing, no hand waving...
First off everybody seemed to have a great time hanging out before the show. It was nice to finally have real contact with a lot of the people I have been emailing for the last year+. Before the Bowery shows last year we really didn't get the opportunity to talk much.
As Ed mentioned I got my Fillmore poster autographed by the band. I rolled it open for Kimberly and thought the top was the bottom so his signature is upside down(after the show I asked him to sign my copy of Grand Central right side up, he chuckled). I unfortunately only got to meet three of The Soft Boys. Robyn never really came up from the basement of Maxwell's for any extended length of time. Kimberly was kind enough to run the poster downstairs(downstairsland?)and have Robyn sign it, a real class act.
Morris came to visit us in the front lounge of Maxwell's, he was very quiet but also very kind and as Ed said he seemed confused but he did inform us that they were the opener for the show. He also mentioned that the episode of Live @ The World Cafe they did the day before will air in December. I think we were all pretty thrilled to be seeing a two set Soft Boys concert, even if it only meant a few extra songs. Also, the set break gave everyone the chance to chat some more.
The concert itself? Well what can I say, it was really great. The sound was great, the band seemed in great spirits, with Mathew passing out free beer to lucky audience members and water to some young(and I do mean young)ladies in the audience. The first set was nearly an hour and the second set was about an hour also, that's minus the lengthy delay between the second set and the encore. Prior to the encore Robyn said his voice was shot and that they were only going to do one more, Only The Stones Remain. He as Ed stated sang it in a lower register and did not wave his arms about as per the usual. I saw a copy of the second setlist, he dropped two songs from the list, OM and something like(I don't remember exactly what it said) If you know(remember)The Time. That second one was the second song of the encore, does anyone know what that could be?
Anyway, I wish I was going to the NYC shows but I have too much to do and that would be way to much driving. I can't wait to hear about the other shows on the tour and hopefully Robyn's voice stays healthy for the duration.
This will probobly look funny amidst the reviews for later shows, but I just got near a computer.
Somehow I was able to scoop up tickets on-site for Mike and Katie! We went in, found the others and positioned ourselves. The two sets were great, I didnt notice that Robyn's voice was tired but here were some things I did notice:
After the Boys took the stage Katie's comment to me about Robyn "He's old but he's still a hottie. Love the haircut." Thats right, Robyn is now officially a teeny-bopper's "hottie." With good hair;-)
I am a moronic yob. Or rather, Im a gregarious drunk who giggles too much. I gather at one point I was talking and giggling and I got "the look" from Robyn. I didn't notice(Mike told me later), which was good, cause like I said, Im a gregarious drunk and would probobly just have stuck my tongue out and waggled my ears back, which would have been an idiot thing to do. Now that Im back in my typical dank, drab existence I'm repentant and wish I'd shut the fuck up. Maybe I should start wearing a gag to concerts. With a Soft Boys logo on it, of course;o)
Of all of Robyn's songs the one that truely unnerves me is "Lightbulb Head." I used to think I's outgrow this but as I learned Friday -- I havent so far.
The lighting effect, which had half of Robyn's face pink, and half purple was grotesque in a good way. He wore a shirt I havent seen for the second set(first set was lizard shirt.) Matt has lost weight from the last tour, and got rid of the white tee-shirt for a golden brown button down shirt-- good color on him,he moves around more than most bass players and --o yeah, Katie thought he was cute too.
Morris had on a tshirt with french writing on it and seems to lean alot to the left while playing. Is there a technical reason for this? Kimberly had on a small flower pink and black shirt he wore for the last tour and is now ahead of me in the search for a good conditioner. In fact, they were all in good hair. Oh, and Katie thinks Kimberly is a really cool boy'sname.
I know all the males on the list have winced thru the last 2 paragraphs but visuals do count. And playing ? They were very tight. Matt's chunky bass really filled in properly under the inticate guitars and Morris will go done in some hall of fame as"the impeccible drummer." In fact, before starting one song Robyn made a joke about how really only Morris and Matt understood the timimg, he and Kimberley just faked it.
In between sets I was sitting on the risers, talking to Kathy Lang and Ken Weingold and looked up and realised the audience was 4/5ths male. I pointed this out to Kathie and said "Whats wrong with us?" (meaning why do we not like typical "chick" music") and Ken, who is great, broke in with "No, its whats right about you." But really, I do wonder if all the audiences are that heavily male and well, why? The songs talk to me about what it means to be human, what it feels like. And since they talk to me where I live, they're very cathartic for me. Girl or no.
And most of all I just realized all over again what a great rock n roll band they are. The sounds just fit together right and make you move. For the life of me I cant understand why more people, (besides more women) dont realize that they are one of the best bands around.
You know what would blow my little mind? Katie suggested it to me and I realized it would be heaven. Covering a Beatles song -- and not a late with surrealistic lyrics and odd instrumentationm beatles song but ... "She Loves You" or "Help" or "I Wann Hold Your Hand" or ... any of the simple early ones with great harmonies. Any of the ones that took my little childhood heart and blew it away(and theirs, since we're of similar vintage.) I cant think of many bands who could really pull it off -- they could.
Wow. . . it's three days later and I'm still smiling! The combination of the perfect venue, great crowd and Robyn and the boys made for an absolutely amazing night. Oct. 25 was family night at Maxwell's, with some young kids grooving to the sounds. I say, start them early on the road to superior musical taste!
Arriving early and securing my spot right at the foot of the stage was very wise planning on my part. Being right at the step RH and the boys climbed to reach the stage satisfied the 16-year old groupie that still lives deep inside me (yes, he brushed against me!)
The performance was in a word, amazing! My mind is completely blank over what they started with, but they followed with pitch perfect versions of Kingdom of Love and Queen of Eyes. Other highlights of the first set were a wowzer version of Underwater Moonlight and, of course, all the best from Nextdoorland.
Then, a second set... a new thing for the band, according to Robyn. And an extra surprise... Matthew S. handing out some nice, cold beers to a lucky group of us in the front (again, my early arrival proves fortuitous for me! Thanks again for the beer!) Highlights of the second set: Airscape.. one of my favorites, and I actually shed a tear. Favorite song, favorite man, it all proved a bit overwhelming! Another highlight, fantastic version of Man with the Lightbuld Head, the interplay between Robyn and Kimberley was well-worth the price of admission. It was obvious how much they were enjoying the show ... making it all the more enjoyable for us.
Another highlight: Matthew Seligman! Who knew he was so cute! Every time someone said something to him, a huge smile lite his face.. a great thing to see. He was thrilled to be there, and we were thrilled to join him!
A few thank you's before I close:
Thanks much Matthew for the beer!
Thanks much, Brian the roadie, for saying that I could take pictures, even though I chickened out and didn't take a one!
And thanks much to the very nice guy who, rather than destroy the second set song list, gave it to me! It's framed and one my bed stand!)
BEFORE THE SHOW
My wife and I arrived at Maxwell's about 8:30 and were immediately struck by how small a venue it is. There's a lounge area in front that seats 20 or 30, a restaurant/bar in the middle, and the stage is in a back room. Went to the lounge where a bunch of folks were sitting and struck up a conversation. Sure enough, all were there to see the show. Talked about anything and everything. RH/Softs fans are sure a nice bunch. My wife and I had come the farthest to see the show, but a guy named Ed gets the activity award -- he came up from DC and was headed back on a 2:00 AM train so he wouldn't miss his son's soccer game the next day.
After a few Guinnesses, I got up to pee and noticed Kimberley, Matthew, and Morris at the bar. Between the bar and the back room I ran into Robyn. He's taller than I'd thought; probably 6'2 or 6'3.
By now we'd found out that there would be two sets and no warmup band.
At 10:00 or a bit earlier we went into the back room, where the stage is. The room is only about 20' by 50', and even that may be a stretch. By now we were beside ourselves -- two sets from our favorite band, in a tiny venue that's special to them, and they're hanging around the bar to boot. Oh, and Guinness within easy reach. You could just feel it would be a great show.
Quick bathroom break before the show starts, and who should be in there but Robyn. I wanted to say something, but that's sure an akward setting. We ended up washing hands at the same time, and as he was about to leave I blurted out "Do a good show". Robyn smiled, said a kind but distracted "thanks", and was gone.
[Show started at about 10:20. Note that the Robyn quotes here are approximate at best. Some quotes also have gaps.]
Robyn: "Infinity goes up on trial, and the same can be said of Maxwell's. Tonight we're opening for ourselves."
Hear My Brane. Very powerful version, such a danceable song. What struck me and my wife later is how the song completely established that the band up there really was the Soft Boys. Nobody else would (or could) have played it.
Kingdom of Love. Very sultry version, with the last verse kind of skinned back. Kimberley really thrashing toward the end. By now it's clear that the band is very tight and meshing well. I liked how Matthew's volume was turned up a bit more than last year; the difference was immense.
Robyn: "I often wonder if the person in this song is a man singing to a woman, or a woman singing to a man, or if they're gay, then a man to a man, or..." Ran through other permutations, then abruptly finished with "That's all I have to share at this time. And now over to Inspector Moots in Maryland."
Queen of Eyes
Robyn: "One of the things about being a legendary defunct band is that everybody thinks they can kiss you and they're cured."
Mind is Connected. Matthew gets that slinky bass sound on this song by tuning the high (B) string up and down as he's playing.
Robyn: "Smoke while you can, NY, before you go the way of California. Of course you can still smoke in Virginia, after they've finished pulling all the bullets out of you."
Mr. Kennedy. Played with a harder edge than on the album -- great, especially the double guitars at the end.
Robyn: Something about Syd Barret, like "he was there before we were so he wasn't there".
Vegetable Man. Robyn started the second verse sotto voce and ended it snarling, sounding a bit like Johnny Lydon. Then in came Kimberley with the wah pedal. Incredible version of a great tune.
Robyn, as the band starts tuning down their guitars: "The sound of guitars tuning is one of the most erotic sounds known to man. It can cure impotence -- in men and women.".
La Cherite. As the song started, he dedicated it to Michelle.
Man With The Lightbulb Head. Kimberley did the falsetto bits.
Robyn: "This is from when there were a lot of wah pedals around Cambridge but I didn't get one. The band and I were saving up to buy a bicycle. I didn't get one until they were gone. You had to be there."
Where Are The Prawns?
Robyn: "Thanks. We'll conclude side one with this. Take time to find yourself a drink." Followed with some anti-Bush stuff.
Underwater Moonlight. Matthew's new-found assertiveness completely carries the song, and Kimberley's solo was burning. Kimberley also helped out the mid-song rant with some slide guitar effects. Can't do the mid-song part justice here, but it dark and funny at the same time: "Descend only lower, into perpetual solitude, down into the seaweed ... furballs ... diabolical, submarinating ... Sink a little lower, under the barnacles, you've been dead 3 1/2 minutes ... Captain! They want to play you a Jewel CD! Wake up NOW captain! Join the Book of the Month Club! It's a cry for help!".
Sorry that bathroom trips are playing such a large role here, but we were after all in a bar. At any rate, Maxwell's has three small bathrooms -- a men's, a women's, and a combination handicap/backup women's. My wife went into the combo room and ran into Robyn there going about his business. Awkward to say the least!
I wandered out into the bar/restaurant part and there were families and couples eating there, just like any other restaurant. It struck me that you could have walked into Maxwell's that night and would never have known that there was a near-religious experience going on in the back.
Robyn, as the band retakes the stage: "Matthew's just preparing some drinks to hand out". (he actually was doling out beers to the audience). Robyn said not to worry -- "Safe, safe, everything we do is safe."
I Love Lucy
Pulse Of My Heart. In case anybody's wondering, Robyn plays the guitar solo on this one.
Robyn: "This is a 'I Wanna Be A Seven-Winged Bat', originally called 'Anglepoise Lamp'".
Robyn: "This is only available on side 3." Plug about it being for sale in back. Something about "a fellow in Kent had a picture of the universe forming up in his attic, a sepia print that belonged to his aunt." (wish I could remember this one -- it was very funny and very weird).
Robyn: "This is also from side 3, but it's a very different tempo."
Disconnection Of The Ruling Class. Lots of hand-waving, then co-leads from Robyn and Kimberley. Very nice.
Robyn: "This should be played in a stadium, not a back room."
Strings. Took it down in the middle, with Robyn almost talking the "Evil is the new enemy..." part. Then back to hard and loud with "Father is coming...". Robyn and Kimberley trading guitar parts. Intense.
Robyn: "This is dedicated to people trying to be in tune everywhere."
Bells Of Rhymney. Beautifully played and sung.
When I Was A Kid. Nice slashing guitar work by Kimberley.
Robyn: (something about 500 rabbits following a train). Asked if the "train" he was talking about should be called a train or a tram here in the US. Some in audience say tram, others say train, all at once. Robyn grins and says "I'm glad you're all informed -- this touches on the subject".
Robyn: "We'll leave you with this"
Insanely Jealous. Incredibly intense version. This is my wife's favorite UM song, and we were both blown away by it.
(Robyn claims his voice is shot)
Only The Stones Remain. Robyn practically talks the song, but it still works, and works well. Once again, the music is tight, hard, and loud.
AFTER THE SHOW
We bought a copy of Side 3, had another Guinness, and chatted with folks we'd met before the show. All agreed it was an incredible performance. Getting ready to leave we noticed that Morris was near the bar. My wife asked him to sign Side 3 and he did. He asked her where we were from, and when she said Michigan he said "Sorry we won't make it to Detroit this time". Few more friendly words, then we turned to leave and saw Kimberley. Got him to sign Side 3 as well. Quick, friendly chat and we were on our way.
It was after 1:00 AM when we left. The band played, all told, over two hours. They were "on", plain and simple. An incredible show that Woj was absolutely correct in calling "thunderous".
WELL AFTER THE SHOW
BTW, we did get Matthew's and Robyn's signatures on Side 3 the next night at the Bowery. Matthew's was first, before the show in the downstairs bar. He and my wife had a long chat -- among other topics she thanked him for the tour journals he did last year on underwatermoonlight.com. After the show (again at the downstairs bar) I saw Robyn, and, needing the last autograph I extended CD and pen and asked "Could you kindly finish this off for me?". Robyn answered "Do you mean sign it or destroy it?". I mumbled "Oh, errr, sign it I guess". He smiled and did just that.