Saturday, September 30, 2000

Concert review: Barenaked Ladies

Canadian band just a load of laughs

By Jay Webber
Enquirer contributor

        Though Canadian alt-rockers Barenaked Ladies tour incessantly, they always leave their fans eager for more. Their recipe for success is great humor, refreshingly distinctive music and a genuine love of their craft.

        Thursday night's Firstar set list was, as usual, unpredictable. There were songs from this month's release, Maroon, such as “The Humour of the Situation”, “Go Home” and “Baby Seat.”

        Plus, there was “The Old Apartment” and “One Week,” hits which have helped move the band into arena-rock, multiplatinum status.

        Most importantly, though, there were the fan favorites. Back-to-back “Brian Wilson” and “If I Had $1,000,000'' had the crowd in a frenzy.

        Explaining they wanted to satisfy all their fans, the guys also launched into a lengthy medley they termed “Every Song We've Ever Written,” concluding with the final chorus of “Hey Jude.”

        Ah, that famous humor. They were dressed in matching khakis and green golf shirts. Cheesy props adorned the stage, extemporaneous lyrics were added for the benefit of those paying attention, and for some unexplained reason a man in a chef's uniform stood beside the drum set and played tambourine for most of the night.

        Meanwhile, no one is safe from a BNL parody. Keyboardist Kevin Hearn even dared to try Britney Spears' “Oops I Did It Again.”

        A Tyler Stewart drum solo was accompanied by a voice intoning “This is NOT a drum solo. Please do not leave the auditorium” and hilarious video of the rest of the band backstage checking their watches impatiently, pacing about and growing full beards.

        Though typically apolitical, the band did banter briefly about the presidential election. In a classic “only-in-Cincinnati” moment, the large crowd of Gen-Xers stunned the band by greeting Al Gore's name derisively and cheering for George W. Bush.

        Before all the BNL fun began, Guster took the stage supporting their latest, Lost and Gone Forever. A trio from Boston, this band features perhaps the hardest working percussionist in rock, Brian Rosenworcel, and flawless harmonies. By the time their fantastic 40-minute set was complete, souvenir stands were busy with brisk sales of Guster merchandise.


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