Barenaked Ladies (w/ Angel Taylor & Kris Allen) 07/22/10

Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Eringoboro

 

In the summer of 1998, the HORDE festival made a stop at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Like any other teenager in upstate New York at the time, Blues Traveler was on my top ten list of favorite bands, and I was longing to get tickets, yet I didn’t have a chance to go to the SPAC show as I was working at a summer camp. However, a friend of mine did attend, and as he kept singing “If I Had $1,000,000,” I’ve discovered a new favorite band. Self-proclaimed nerd-rockers Barenaked Ladies. Obsessed isn’t even the word for it; I was in love with their musicianship and their comedy. I made quick to the used record store to buy all their albums (at the time, “Stunt” was the most recent). I played their albums non-stop, notably Rock Spectacle, Gordon and Maybe You Should Drive – “Enid” off Gordon made it on as my senior quote for yearbook, even.

When I was a lonely freshman at Edinboro University in the autumn of 2000, I called in on a whim and won tickets from a local radio station in Erie, PA for their Maroon tour at the (formerly known as) Gund Arena in Cleveland, OH. I finally got to experience firsthand how every fan has said their shows are a real fun experience. The on-stage banter between songs, the high-energy, the boy-band-esque dance-offs… I had a blast.

Fast-forward to 2010. A lot has happened in my life in ten years… graduated college, moved to Atlanta, then to Los Angeles… and saw that a blast from my past were playing the Greek – right up the road from my house! Since none of my friends are really fans, I decided to just purchase a single ticket off StubHub the night before the show, while only four seats were left. Boy am I happy I did…

I’m cheap, and I didn’t want to pay for stacked parking and never get home, and I don’t mind walking where I have to go (so there, Missing Persons!), so I found a quiet street with ample lighting to leave my car, and set off on a long, uphill trek through Griffith Park. (Bonus – I didn’t feel as guilty for skipping the gym this lovely evening.) The walk is very scenic with some absolutely gorgeous houses lining the path.

I unfortunately missed Angel Taylor’s set. She was the first opening act. I was a little sweaty when I got to my seats, but the very nice lady sitting in the row by me didn’t seem to mind; in fact, she was impressed that I trekked up the hill on my own. Funny story: It turned out that the three other seats on StubHub didn’t sell… because Ms. Taylor and her family were the ones sitting in the row next to me (aforementioned lady was in her party) – I didn’t even realize it was her until Ed Robertson called her up on stage to sing “Every Subway Car” early in their set (and her party then left, giving me half of the entire row to myself – thanks!!). By the way, Ms. Taylor is drop-dead gorgeous, has a very sunny personality, and I checked out her music when I got home, and she’s pretty great.

Roughly 15 minutes after I got settled, Kris Allen took the stage as the second opener. I Googled him before going to the concert, and was a little put-off that he was an American Idol winner, as I am typically not a fan of the pop music that comes from that franchise, and I don’t watch the show, but needless to say, I was very impressed with this guy. He sang nearly everything off of his new album, and totally surprised me by covering “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead. Unfortunately, the younger audience didn’t seem to recognize the song, and the venue was still pretty empty. He finished out with a fantastic cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which sounded more like the Aerosmith arrangement, but this kid rocked it. Mr. Allen was a pleasant surprise with his very crisp vocals and gritty rock music from his band. I hope he sticks around for a while; I’d see him again, for sure.

Before the Ladies took the stage, I started to feel a little apprehension. I was always a Steve girl, so I really didn’t know what to expect from this show. Some fans I knew of were saying that they’ve seen prior shows and commented that it was “sad,” or “not very good.” I was still expecting a good show, thinking they’d just primarily do Ed and Kevin’s repertoire of the old, and lots of stuff from the new album, All In Good Time (which is a very solid album being the first as a foursome, by the way, I recommend y’all take a listen). No, Ed brought the big guns and didn’t shy away from Page’s songs, such as “The Old Apartment,” and shockingly, “Blame It On Me” from 1992’s Gordon.

Kevin Hearn and the boys brought a unique twist to Page’s “Sound of Your Voice” from Barenaked Ladies Are Me (“BLAM”), as he played a quiet, yet very solid, lead vocal with solely an acoustic guitar, while Ed, Jim and Tyler bring the funny (and the talent) backing Hearn up barbershop-style. Typically, I’m not a fan of Kevin’s songs (sorry), but Thursday night changed that. I very much enjoyed “Sound of Your Voice,” but even better was Hearn’s tickling of the ivories and strong vocals on his own “Another Heartbreak.” Kevin, you’ve come a long way, baby, thanks for convincing me.

The highlight of my evening was Jim performing “On The Lookout” on the piano after a very sweet story about how he wrote the song for his wife while they were hiking in California. Jim has never really had too many album solos, but with Steven Page’s absence, he’s getting his chance, and it’s great that he is. Creeggan has a very smooth vocal that I am really itching to hear a lot more of on future albums. But then, I have always had a soft spot for Jim for the sole fact he plays a string bass AND a Hofner a’la Macca.

Ed’s vocals were a little weak on some songs, mostly Page’s higher-range, but I still give him cred – he’s working double-time, now. He’s still a fun performer, completely rocked his own songs of “Pinch Me,” “Easy,” “Falling For the First Time,” and the crowd-pleasing set-ender “If I Had $1,000,000.” Of course he brought the rhymes with “One Week” and “Four Seconds,” the latter being lots of fun with drummer Tyler Stewart, who has also stepped up in the vocal department by being a full-time backup harmony.

The trademark Boy-Band Jam came late in the show, with Kevin on keys singing “Oh-Oh It’s Magic,” segueing into Tyler belting “Empire State of Mind,” Ed’s beatboxing pushing into a hilarious and quite coordinated finale of Justin Beiber’s “Baby,” BEP’s “I Gotta Feeling,” and Katy Perry’s new single, “California Girls.” It’s a well-known routine that the guys do this at every show, but they continue to keep it fresh by using newer songs every tour.

I was all smiles upon leaving the Greek. My only regret was that the show wasn’t longer. I missed Steve, but the show was a lot of fun, and two nights later I still have a post-concert high (and I don’t mean the kind I could smell all over the Greek at the show). If you’re a fan of the Ladies, but are hung up on Page leaving the band, go anyway, you’re still going to have a blast.





eringoboro
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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 10:47 am.
Categories: Reviews.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. singrdave

    Wonderful review. We saw this same leg of the tour, but at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. I was also very impressed with Kris Allen: not my first choice of American Idol winners to see live, but his set was excellent.

    As for the Ladies, let me start this by saying I am a FAN. My wife is a FAN. We’ve seen the with-Steve lineup six times live, including a free show in the Arizona State University student union back in April 1996. And we’d already seen this no-Steve BNL previously that summer, at Richmond’s Innsbruck outdoor ampitheater in Virginia.

    This MPP show was my four kids’ first concert and they’ve been practically raised on the band. They knew all the songs, including our then-5YO boy and 9YO girl. Thoroughly entertaining. Wonderful show despite the lack of Mr. Page but the gaps were there. I don’t really have anything that I can add to your review, since you really thoroughly covered the set. Banter-riffic and fun to watch!

    I’m looking forward to 2013, I expect to see them again and again.

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