concert memoirs pt. 35 – soft boys, frank black and the catholics & iggy pop

Soft Boys

3/31/01 First Avenue w/Amy & John Ticket Price: Comp. Tickets

This was cool.

The Soft Boys reunited and re-issued ‘Underwater Moonlight’, the first album of theirs I had ever heard. Somewhere around 1985 or so, John and I drove down to Beloit, WI to visit a friend of ours who was going to college there. Because it was before term was to start, there weren’t many students around, so John and I were able to crash in one of the dorms. Our friend, Kelly, took us over to the college radio station.

Remember, in those days, college radio was way into the Indie music. We met a young woman who was on the air and we sat in the studio with her for a few minutes. It was then that she introduced us to ‘Underwater Moonlight’. She told us how great the album was and how great Robyn Hitchcock was and how we should check it out.

John soon picked up a copy of ‘Underwater Moonlight’ and we thought it was brilliant. We then discovered Robyn’s other equally brilliant material. I always thought it a shame the Robyn never quite made it to rock stardom. Perhaps it is better that he didn’t. This way we who know and appreciate his genius have him to ourselves.

That’s a long way round to get to talking about this show.

It was a fun show with great songs. Robyn is always entertaining. He’s one of the few artists that I have seen multiple times and has never delivered a bad show. He and Kimberly Rew play very well together.

Rew was quite a character as well. Looking like a cross between Bjorn Ulvaeus (of ABBA) and Dana Carvey with a little Felicity Kendal thrown in, we could easily tell he was having a wonderful time. He was so happy to be playing. His expressions were terrific. He looked as though he surprised himself at being able to play guitar. Amy and I were very entertained by him.

I’m going to get a little political now…

There was an exceedingly rare low moment in the show, however. In fact it was the only low point of any of the times I’d seen Robyn Hitchcock. Robyn thought it would be a real crowd-pleaser and a deep statement to take a little poke at our new president. He said, “This next song is for President Bush.” And then they played ‘I Wanna Destroy You’, which was probably written as an angry reaction to Prime Minister Thatcher and President Reagan.

Gee whiz! Give the man a chance. He was just elected (yes, elected). And he’s our president, you limey bastard! John expressed as much to Amy and me as we left. In fact, I think those were his very words.

I’m sure most of the folks present thought the Robyn was so right and insightful about our president. I’m telling you, the Left hate so easily for being such a tolerant group of human beings. At least, that’s how I see it.

Frank Black & the Catholics w/House of Large Sizes
4/27/01 First Avenue w/Amy & Mark Ticket Price: Comp. Tickets

I had seen House of Large Sizes once before. It was in the 7th St. Entry and I was with Amy. Amy really liked this band and had seen them several times. I thought they were pretty good and I liked the bass player gal’s gimmick of getting her extremely long braids to twirl about. It looked as though she might take off like a helicopter.

What I remember mostly about Frank’s show is how loud it was. There was one song in particular that had the band playing some nasty notes. They would hold on a note that seemed to drill right into my ear and violently vibrate my ear drum. I know ear drums are supposed to vibrate, but this was doing something weird to me.

The vibration was making me fell ill. I felt as though I might pass out. I’m not kidding! It was so loud and discordant, I had to (gasp!) put my fingers in my ears to keep from collapsing.

But I survived.

Iggy Pop w/The Mighty Mofos
5/16/01 First Avenue w/Amy Ticket Price: Unknown

“Hey! It’s the Mofos!” That was my reaction when the opening band took the stage. I hadn’t seen The Mighty Mofos in years and I was really surprised to see them that night. The Mighty Mofos are a local bar band that kicks out some really rockin’ tunes. They were a good compliment to the headliner.

At one point, Bill Batson the lead singer announced the band would play a cover song next and he wanted the audience to decide which band they should cover: Ramones or The Who. My vote, of course, was for a Who cover. The audience won, the Mofos played a Ramones cover. Which was ok, I like the Ramones, too.

Iggy came out all fired up and half undressed. Not an ounce of body fat, veins bursting out all over, and just a fireball of energy, it was hard to believe Iggy was 54 years-old. He jumped, ran and otherwise hurled himself around the stage, belting out all his classics. His energy level was amazing.

His backing band members were all much younger than the rock icon. I would think they had to be to keep up with Iggy. Hell, I got tired just watching him.

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