Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eugene Mirman & Pretty Good Friends -> They Might Be Giants -> American Babies, 7/29/11

Eugene Mirman & Pretty Good Friends -> They Might Be Giants, Williamsburg Waterfront, Brooklyn
-> American Babies, Rockwood Music Hall, NYC

Better late than never, eh? My sneakers finally dried from this episode, so I suppose that means it's time to write the review!

Well, I sure know where I like to head when there's a Tornado Watch hovering over the Tri-State area-- and that's the Brooklyn Waterfront! Why not, right? An open park on a slab of concrete with a giant stage full of electronic equipment seems like a perfectly reasonable destination as the newsradio Meteorologist announces the appearance of "definite rotation detected in the clouds" heading your way. I packed a change of clothes, extra shoes, and then remembered to go back into the house to grab SuperPoncho (holy shit!!! now on sale!!! ACT FAST!). I mean-- might as well try to stay dry? Maybe? Fucking Live Music.

"We take you to Brooklyn". The line stretched for blocks up Kent Ave., but was definitely moving more quickly than the Faith No More line of summer 2010 (also, less angry energy). Hipsters Hipsters everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Except for all the Beer in the Beer Garden. And the tequila in the flask. Oh, and the massive shitstorm of water that eventually began falling from above.

Eugene Mirman, comic genius, and his magical group of Pretty Good Friends, opened the show. I'm not sure if its the cultural identification, but Eugene Mirman is one funny motherfucker. His MC work was fluid & smart. He brought along some new suggestions for Tanqueray Gin's "Tonight We Tanqueray" marketing campaign. Having officially banned Gin from my body years ago, I'm here to tell you that these catchy phrases were well-conceptualized and mightily appreciated by everyone with a similar background. My favorite was, "Tonight We Tanqueray… Tomorrow, we stop by Planned Parenthood on the way to work." Eugene Mirman RULES!

Kristen Schaal was working through her set, which included reading an excerpt from her book about her taint (the excerpt, that is-- as far as I know the whole book, The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex, covers more ground than her taint… *rimshot*) when the shitstorms began. Picture 3000 or so nerds with short attention spans, distracted, speechless, and looking upwards at 3 weatherfronts converging directly above our heads-- knowing exactly what is about to happen. Sets of swirling dark clouds, coming from 3 separate directions, and jumbo gumball sized (the 50¢ ones) drops of rain hurling towards us. The SuperPoncho was already on. My Festival Spidey Sense was tingling. "I should take off my shoes." I didn't take off my shoes. Please note: I should have taken off my shoes. Then came the flood. From the sky. A flood fell from the sky. On us.

Schaal tried to keep us entertained, but it would be a challenge. Maybe she was channeling Seth Herzog, I don't know, but Irene Cara's What a Feeling from Flashdance started blasting over the PA and Kristen ripped off her black dress, revealing a different, full outfit- a skirt and tank top, grabbed a folding chair, and re-enacted the famous dance scene from the film, which climaxed as she yanked on a piece of rope held by Eugene Mirman, who would immediately dump an aluminum pail of water onto her chair-splayed body. Then they did it a few more times, as the song is very long. Mirman was methodically opening and pouring one new plastic bottle of water into the pail for each take, as rain fell in sheets off the stage's roof. It was fucking awesome. They brought it. Thank you, Kristen Schaal & Eugene Mirman!

The rain died down for a while and we were treated to the very pale, Jim Gaffigan. Acoustics in the beer garden being what they are (terrible), I had some trouble hearing Jim's wonderful whispery comedic stylings. This was soon made impossible by the next set of torrential downpours. Enough rain accumulated on the cement and was pouring off towards the East River, that at any given moment you could look down and you were standing in no less than an inch of water.

I really should have just taken off my shoes in the first place and hidden them in Das SuperPoncho (it's got a giant kangaroo pouch). Did I mention the rubber boots in my car? There were rubber boots in the car. It was too hot to walk around in rubber boots. Todd Barry inherited a hell of a situation and I love the guy, but have no idea what went on during his set due to aforementioned volume of storm.

Hern: I think we're gonna get rained on at moe.down this year.
Lynn: WHAAAT??
Oooooh, and as the storm subsided, we were treated to a fabulous surprise-- PATTON OSWALT!!! YAAAAAAY!!!! It was his turn to try and make 3000 drenched people happy. He reminisced about walking his dog one day in NYC and accidentally interrupting two crackheads mid-BJ. Patton is awesome and I heart him.

There was a musical comedy act, but I honestly have no idea what actually went on after Patton, because I'd stopped paying attention as I started getting drunk. Eventually the skies cleared, revealing the picturesque Manhattan skyline that had disappeared for the better part of an hour. The squishiness was unbearable, so I took off my shoes and socks. That's right. Williamsburg Waterfront, barefoot. Suck it, Hipsters! SuperPoncho fared me pretty well. It's weird the way it works though, you can still feel the weight of the wet, but you stay dry, though it's somewhat sticky with humidity on the inside. The majority of my crew (and the rest of the crowd) was unprepared, so they were soaked to the core. I would have taken a picture of Mern's hairy nipplage completely visible through his wet yellow t-shirt, but the taste of bile in the back of my mouth made reaching for a camera impossible.

Yes, tonight, They Might Be Giants would return to the site of their 1986-ish music video, Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (which they did not play! BOO!!!)

Touch the puppet head.

Their setlist consisted of a few old favorites and then some of the newer stuff, including a handful off their new album Join Us. The new material was cute, but I (enjoy &) enjoyed the oldies more. Ana Ng fucking ROCKED the Waterfront. Ana Ng is the first TMBG song I'd ever heard, watching MTV at the age of 10. Look at me now! It gave the drippy crowd an obvious and well-needed energy boost. More of that, please! The Avatars of They (sock puppets-- their album drops in 2012) performed the song Spoiler Alert on the big screen. Puppet show under the stars. This is the weirdness TMBG fans have grown to love. It was a sweet treat. As was the FIIIIIINGERTIIIIIPS encore. I was totally into that. "What's that bluuuue thing doooing heeeeeere?"

The Avatars of They (who's album will be released in 2012) perform Spoiler Alert (footage courtesy of vvedge1138)

Seeing a show with wet bare feet at the Williamsburg Waterfront is kind of yucky-- I definitely wouldn't recommend it. It would have been nice to get situated closer to the stage, but that would have meant risking serious injury. Still, barefoot on damp cement is way more comfortable than waterlogged sneakers any day of the week. Even Tuesday. I had to put the kicks back on for the 5 block walk to the car. Despite the brilliant sound they made, it was totes bleeeah. Anyways, always listen to your Spidey Sense, kids. I should have taken my sneakers off before the rain. Let us all learn from my mistake. Look at this, I help people.

The last time I saw American Babies (7/16/11, Bearsville Theater), they asked that I use the word "fuck" more in my next review. Shit, I can do that. No fucking problem, boys!

Most of the crew were still soaked to the bone and desperately wanted to go home. Fucking lame. But there was one Trooper. One… El "Pukebutt" Herno.

Hern: I'm soaked.
Lynn: Yes, but you're coming to American Babies!
Hern: I'm going to get Pneumonia.
Lynn: If you're going to get Pneumonia, you've already got it! You're coming to see American Babies!
Hern: I am going to see American Babies.
El Herno was in! He tried to dry his Smartwool socks by dangling them out the passenger window during the drive over the Williamsburg Bridge, which was pretty fucking pointless, as the humidity was about 100%, and it was a losing battle. I tried to talk him into getting those pretty little embroidered Chinese Slippers they sell in the bodegas for $3, or even just some fucking flip-flops, but he refused. My feet dried in the a/c and I put on my sandals.

Rockwood Music Hall was fucking PACKED. I quickly bought Hern a beer for his valiant efforts. We found a sweet fucking spot on the railing and the Behbies hit the stage running. They had an hour to seduce the room. Forget seduction, they fucking fucked our earholes hard, with sweet fucking rock music. NYC is full of entertainment on any given night. There's always a show that's an Insider's hot spot. Someplace the real shit is going down. You only know it's really happening when you feel that special tingly late-night NYC magic in the air. This was that special fucking place. This was that special fucking show… for at least an hour. And what an hour it was! THE FUCKING WORLD NEEDS MORE BEHBIES!!!! I totally didn't keep a setlist, but shit was fucking solid & tight-- TRUST ME. GO SEE THIS FUCKING BAND.

For me, seeing American Babies while wearing a pair of Birkenstocks was a little fucking weird (not just because the a/c was making my toes cold) and for some reason I felt the need to apologize to the band about it. Hern felt wet and cold. Despite that, he enjoyed the show and really liked the songs. Score one for the Grape Drink! Fearing he'd blame American Babies and never see them again (it was important to leave this on a high note) if he did in fact come down with Pneumonia (he did not), I promised him a ride home to try and minimalize any more exposure that might push it over the edge. Unfortunately (for me), I was not able to talk him into a pastrami sammich or hot dog at Katz's before we left. Hern never turns down meat, so it must have been pretty fucking serious.

I don't know, it was a short set, but I feel like I could still throw a few more fucks in here.
A great fucking band,
American Babies are.
Fuck, fuckity, fuck.

Wish I could have heard more comedy, but I'll just have to hit up Eugene Mirman & Pretty Good Friends next time they are in the area. They Might Be Giants-- I've seen 'em better, but they were still fun. As a 30-something year old who drinks her morning coffee out of the same They Might Be Giants mug that was purchased over 10 years ago (did I just jinx this?) every day, you know I'll see 'em again. And of course, American Babies-- FUCK YEEEAH!

The ceiling fan did nothing, so my grey Simples spent the better part of a week in the direct sun to completely dry out. On a positive note, the thick layer of brown dust they collected at the Gathering of the Vibes is now history in all but the sneakiest nooks of the tongue. HUZZAH!

Brooklyn Vegan has some awesome pics up from the night!

Birdhouse In Your Soul, Clap Your Hands, Can't Keep Johnny Down, Damn Good Times, Don't Let's Start, Judy Is Your Vietnam, The Mesopotamians, Never Knew Love, When Will You Die, Spoiler Alert%, Ana Ng, You Probably Get That a Lot, Cloisonné, Graveyard, Instanbul (Not Constantinople)


% The Avatars of They!

Total Fucking Awesomeness


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