Venue: TT the Bear's
Location: Boston Massachusetts USA
Just returned from the show at TT's. It was excellent to see Pat, Max, Owen and Steve again and they played beautifully. The turnout was good, and vocal -but not in a bad way as has been experienced by some on the list out west. Everyone was very excited to see the JBC live, myself included. The set was similar to what was played in NYC last September with the addition of a couple of new songs slated for the new CD due in the states around the end of the summer according to Pat. The song "Morphine" sounded particularly good.
Those of you that are able to attend this tour -enjoy the shows! It's a real treat! And I'll "LEAVE IT!" at that.
I have to second Al's comments. The show was wonderful, and the new tunes sounded great! Max's cd was on sale at the show, and it was nice to hear "Rosemary" live. The crowd was nearly silent between songs -- "It's undivided attention," I remarked to one of the people I was with. Everyone played well, and I'm certain they would have gone on beyond the single encore if TT's wasn't about to close.
No, I never did give away those two extra tickets from yesterday, which is a shame because I could have doubled the size of the audience that made it to TT's for Pat's first appearance here in 8 years. In the mementos department I now have two snagged set lists in my collection - the first from 1992's show at nearby Nightstage, and the second from this evening's somewhat more intimate performance at TT's. (And I could have had three, maybe, had I not driven past the Paradise club one night circa 1987, reading the marquee and musing, "hm, who ARE those guys?") The most charming thing about these pieces of paper is the identical handwriting, i.e. Pat's very distinctive penmanship (does this count as an autograph?), though in tonight's case he neglected to make a little heart symbol out of the "o" in "Who Loves You Now?" as was the case with 92's "Falling in Love." For kicks I've attached a copy, which will help to spare you any detailed play-by-play of which songs were played or neglected. Suffice to say I was happy enough to hear a somewhat runny version of my all time favorite, "Soul Happy Hour," which rendered all else, in my humble opinion, anticlimactic. Still the Fish/Eider/Jones combo rendered even my lesser-liked numbers like "She's a Yo Yo" and "She's On Drugs"
Great show. It's rare for a song to grab me by the throat, I tend to need songs to sink in before suddenly it dawns on me how damn good they are - but the first new song played last night, "Diamorphine", was absolutely great. Wonderful, innovative guitar playing from both Pat and Max - lots of wahwah, backed up by a searing melodic line. Pat said after the show that the new album will be out in a couple of months - I can't remember what it'll be called, though a final title was announced at the show - but if these two songs are anything to go by, it's going to be a beaut.
The Jazz Butcher ConspiracyLive at TT the Bear's, Cambridge, MA, April 13, 2000
This review's a bit feeble, I know - if it's any excuse, I spent the day after the show in bed with a migraine and just got up today, so it's not as fresh as it could have been. I spent a lot of time looking at my notes and saying, "What?"
I'm moving back to Lansing, Michigan next month, so this was probably the last concert I'll see for a while - and what a great concert it was! This was the first time I'd ever been to TT the Bear's. It had a much nicer vibe than the Middle East - friendlier employees and a nicer layout. There's a wide entry hall between the two sides of the club. At the rear of the hall are the bathrooms. Off the left side of the hall is the bar, with seating at the far side of it and a small room with a pool table to the left of the bathrooms. Off the right side of the hall is the stage area, with the stage at the front and the sound booth at the back.
I had thought about going to the show late, since there were three opening bands, but I got too antsy and ended up getting there a little before nine. I was glad I did, because when I arrived, the club was nearly empty, and Pat and Kathie were just standing around at the merchandise table. I got to talk to them a bit and got Pat to sign my Condition Blue CD insert. Pat said, "I like people who bring their own Sharpies." (I always carry a Sharpie - you never know when you're going to need to graffiti something.) Pat said something about not being sure what they were going to play, as it was the first show of the tour. I lobbied unsuccessfully for "Racheland." Forgot to mention that on April 13, 1796, the first elephant arrived in America.
The first band, Device, introduced themselves as being "English, like the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy," and kept talking about how their music was drum and bass, "so we'd all be able to recognize it when it came over here." Okay. One of the guitarists looked like a young Mark E. Smith. The second band, the Shelley Winters Project, had a violinist, a guitarist who was too cute and knew it, and a keyboard player/vocalist who introduced the band by saying "We're not Devo." It's true, they aren't Devo, although the singer had that Church of the Subgenius vibe. They were reasonably amusing. At this point a guy came up to me and asked me if I was a writer. He was from Your Sound, a web site which was supposedly "sponsoring" the show. I don't know what that consisted of, other than having a rather ugly banner hanging on the back wall of the stage. Then he wanted to know if I wanted to write for their web site. I accepted a business card and he went away.
And then it was AEUK time! (This now seems to be the "official" name of the band - or at least they introduced themselves as AEUK, not Ass Eaters UK.) They've got a new singer, who can actually sing - she had kind of a platinum-haired Barbie doll New York look. I thought they were better than they were at last fall's Wetlands show, although they drove most of the audience into the bar. They did a cover of "Tie Your Mother Down" by Queen, so I'll give them points for that.
Earlier in the evening, Pat and Max had carried a couple of the barstools across to the side of the stage, and Pat now brought them onstage. Owen started setting up his drums, Pat and Kathie were unsnarling guitar cords, Max was positioning his effects box. Then everyone went off and Pat and Max reappeared, wearing sunglasses - Max's were reddish-brown and oval, Pat's were retro-shaped and silvery. When I saw them in NYC last year, Max was at the extreme right of the stage and Pat was at the center, in front of the drums. This time their positions were reversed, with Pat at the extreme right of the stage. They seated themselves, and after a bit of a struggle with the reverb on Pat's amp - he said something about sounding like Chrissie Hynde - they played "Partytime."
Here's a phenomenon I don't understand: when Pat and Max were walking around the club together, Max seemed shorter than Pat, but when they're both onstage together, Max is taller. Can anyone explain this? Both Pat and Max wore dark suits, Max with a black polo-neck shirt and Doc Martens, Pat with a white knit collarless button-neck shirt and black boots. Pat was playing a black Fender with a Schwa alien head and a Sumo sticker. After "Partytime," Owen joined them, wearing black jeans and t-shirt, and seated himself. Pat then pulled out some drink tickets and asked if anyone in the audience would go and get them a couple of beers. A guy near the right-hand side of the stage was dispatched for three Rolling Rocks, and Pat then said, "That's the last we'll see of him." However, he reappeared, beers in hand, during the next tune, "Girls Who Keep Goldfish," with Owen on accordion. (Later someone kept bringing Pat bottles of Bass ale.) Pat said something about getting slower as you get older. Kathie came up and sat at the drum kit to provide backing vocals and percussion for the next couple of songs. They played Max's song, "Baby It's You," which he referred to as "being called 'Baby, Baby, Baby' or something like that."
Pat removed his shades and switched to bass. There was a persistent buzzing from one of the amps at the left-hand side of the stage, and he said, "Love that buzz!" One of the audience members responded, "Waiting for the Love Buzz!" to which Pat sternly replied, "That's as bad as one of mine." Owen played guitar and sang his lovely, sad song "Don't Let Me Keep You." Then Kathie left the stage, Owen moved to the drums and Pat took up the guitar, saying, "It's like progressive rock, all this instrument swapping." He then introduced "DRINK," with Max on vocals, by saying, "It's cabaret time." Afterward he said, "You should see us down the library."
Steve Valentine then joined the band on bass, standing at the left-hand side of the stage. Max sang, "Who Loves You Now?" Next was "Girlfriend," a favorite of mine, with some very fierce guitar at the end and Pat shaking his hair about. He introduced "Mr. Odd" by saying, "This next number's not necessarily one you'd associate with this collection of individuals..." Max stood up to play "Mr. Odd," which was followed by "Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present." Pat then paused to tune his guitar, saying something about sounding like Spacemen 3, and then began "Soul Happy Hour" by singing, "The best things in life are free, but you can give them to Spacemen 3."
Max then sang a new song, a fast rocking number called "Rose Marie." Pat introduced the next song as being set in New Orleans on a 48-hour drinking binge, "where I met a lovely girl that became my girlfriend." The song was "Sweet Water," off of Waiting for the Love Bus, a delicious surprise. "She's On Drugs" was next, followed by a new song which Max sang, "Diamorphine." Max commented, "Old age is not for sissies," before he started the song, which was one of the highlights of the show. My notes say, "Pat heavy distorted guitar YES!" I think I cried a little, and I know the big goofy grin showed up on my ace around here. Pat mentioned that their new LP was to be called Rotten Soul, and sang another new song, "Niagara," which was also excellent. Afterward Pat said, "We should be pretty good at that round about Iowa," at which the guy behind me announced that he was from Iowa City. Pat then asked for a show of hands from anyone who was NOT from Iowa City. He then used, "Be very careful while traveling through the Midwest..." as the introduction to "Bigfoot Motel."
They didn't play "Racheland," but Pat introduced the next one as "a song about just how shitty things can get around the home," and they played "She's a Yo-Yo" from Condition Blue. This was an excellent ending to an excellent set. The band left the stage and the house lights came up, but they returned for a very fast encore of "Take The Skinheads Bowling." (Earlier Pat had commented on seeing the time in big glowing orange numbers on the clock across from the stage.) Closing times in Cambridge are very early. I can't wait for the new album.
It was great and I was there. Just wanted there to be a comment! Can't wait for the return of JBC and and a cd reissue of Distressed Gentlefolk!
- 1. Partytime
- 2. Girls Who Keep Goldfish
- 3. Baby, It's You ( Max Eider )
- 4. Don't Let Me Keep You ( Owen Jones )
- 5. D.R.I.N.K.
- 1. Who Loves You Now?
- 2. Girlfriend
- 3. Mr. Odd
- 4. Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present
- 5. Soul Happy Hour
- 6. Rosemarie ( Max Eider )
- 7. Sweetwater
- 8. She's On Drugs
- 9. Diamorphine
- 10. Niagara
- 11. Bigfoot Motel
- 12. She's A Yo-Yo
- 1. Take The Skinheads Bowling (Camper Van Beethoven)