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8 Oct 2015 | Leave a Comment

Barenaked Ladies - The Institute, Birmingham 8th Oct 2015

Barenaked Ladies – The Institute, Birmingham 8th Oct 2015

Barenaked Ladies are, I suspect, best know to our younger visitors as the people who wrote the theme tune to Big Bang Theory, however, they’ve been around for the past 27 years. I’ve been a huge fan for about 23 of them, ever since their breakthrough album Gordon was released… and for those of you that are long-time fans and just had to re-read that, yes, Gordon is is 23 years old, and yes, you (and I) are old!

As a Canadian band, they only usually tour this side of the pond every couple of years. I try to catch them at least once every UK tour, but what’s even nicer with BNL’s gigs is they offer a VIP option, which allows you access to the sound check, and gives you a chance to meet and greet the band before the show.

The Sound Check / Meet & Greet

Turning up at the venue around 3.30pm, I was met with a small cluster of BNL fans gathered outside. Most were from the BNL UK Fans facebook group, a lovely, friendly gang that braved the bitterly cold Birmingham wind on Weds come and see their favourite artist. Some were there for the VIP pre-show like me, but many were just there to be first in the queue for the show that started at 7pm (they are somewhat hardcore!) 😉 What I’ve always loved about BNL is the fact that, unlike the stadium band they are in their own country, they’re a somewhat cult following in the UK, so there’s a real sense of community amongst the UK fans. Cue lots of conversations about where you first heard them, and what gigs you’d been to. I’ve always found BNL fans a really welcoming and friendly bunch of people to chat to whilst your waiting for the doors to open.

Barenaked Ladies - The Institute, Birmingham 8th Oct 2015

Barenaked Ladies / Colin Hay – The Institute, Birmingham 8th Oct 2015

As 4pm rolled around, a VIP group of around 30 people were let inside to watch the sound check. What follow was a lot of fun, with them taking requests from the group for songs. Some of them BNL tracks, some from other bands. Being in Birmingham, they did a Black Sabbath cover (Ed does quite a convincing Ozzie!), and some Rush (they are Canadian after all!) It’s a nice opportunity for people to shout out some of the rather more obscure BNL tracks which wouldn’t usually make it into the main show. One of these resulted in the band giving a rendition of Popcorn from their Snacktime children’s album, with keyboard/guitar/accordion/’anything that makes a music noise’ player Kevin Hearn taking lead vocals. After the sound check was over, the group came down to the main floor, took photos and chatted with the audience. I did get to have a nice little chat with Ed, and confirmed that, unlike last year, he did actually manage not to get lost in the Bullring this time, and found his way to the comic book store he was trying to reach when they were here 2 years ago!

With the sound check and meet & greet over, it was time to head back outside before the main show…

The Gig

Colin Hay / Kevin Hearn

Colin Hay / Kevin Hearn

One of the other advantages of the VIP tickets, is that they let you back into the venue first (this may not be the case at all venues, but it has been at The Institute), meaning I managed to grab a sweet spot right at the front by the stage. Support act this time around was the brilliant Colin Hay. You may not know the name, but if you’re of my age, you’ll remember the band ‘Men At Work’ (I come from a land down under…) of which he was the lead singer. If you’re of a younger generation, you may recognise him from the tv show Scrubs, which he occasionally popped up in and featured a number of his songs (Zach Braff is a big fan!) The first rather noticeable thing for a man famed for a song about coming from Australia is his broad Scottish accent (he emigrated there when he was 14 and now lives in LA, but it would seem you can’t take the accent out of a Scot!) Playing an entire acoustic set, he opened with the wonderful Beautiful World, followed by the equally brilliant Overkill, before moving onto the most famous Men At Work track, Down Under. It’s really lovely hearing these tracks totally stripped back, which just Colin’s powerful vocal and an acoustic guitar. Towards the end of the set, Kevin Hearn came out on stage to join him on accordion for a few tracks off his latest album Next Year Peoplewhich is well worth a purchase.

After a short break it was time for the main show, and on came Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn & Ed Robertson to kick things off with an energetic version of Get Back Up, the first track from their latest album SilverballThis was closely followed by the BNL tradition of making songs up on the spot. In this case inspired by Ed having seen Birmingham’s canals and canal boats up close for the first time, but being to scared to approach the rather stern looking canal people!

Barenaked Ladies - The Institute, Birmingham 2015

BNL

The rest of the show was a solid mix of older hits and tracks of the new album. Colin Hay joined them back on stage a couple of times. Once for a cover of the Men At Work track Who Could It Be Now? and later for the BNL track Pinch Me. What has become clear is they’re certainly not missing ex-BNL member and co-lead singer Steven Page, and have found a great grove as a 4 piece. Vocal duties are now spread around the band, with both Kevin and Jim taking lead vocals on tracks. They even release Ty from the drum kit for the encore. Given the amount of energy he leaps forward with once he’s handed a mic, I swear the must chain him to the drum set to stop bouncing over the room for most of the gig… (I still say his inspiration is Animal from the Muppets.) 😉

As always, BNL are an immensely entertaining band to watch, and every show they just seem to get better. If you ever get chance to see them live, I urge you to take it, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s to the next 27 year!

All The Videos – Barenaked Ladies – The Institute, Birmingham 8th Oct 2015

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2 Dec 2013 | 2 Comments

i should preface this review by saying, if you’re looking for an unbiased review, this isn’t it… I’ve been a huge fan of Barenaked Ladies for over 20 years, so, they really would have to severely screwed something up for me not to have liked this gig. Having said that, this is the first time i’d seen them as a 4 piece band (after the departure of co-lead singer Steven Page), so there was a little bit of trepidation… not that I need to be worried…

It’s been a few years since i’ve seen Canadian alt/rock band Barenaked Ladies perform, so when I saw they were touring to promote their latest album Grinning Streak this side of the pond, I jumped at the chance to see them live once more. However, this time around they were also offering VIP packages, giving you a number of exclusive goodies, plus the option to meet & greet the band, have a chat, photos taken, and things signed, all for a fairly reasonable price… VIP option it is then!

The Meet & Greet / Sound Check

Meet & Greet

Meet & Greet

I turned up at The Institute in Birmingham, just before 4pm, and joined a number of other fans. Some already queueing for the 7pm show, but most (about 30 of us) there for the VIP package. Once the doors opened, we were let inside and taken upstairs to main venue hall. If you get a chance to see someone at The Institute, then go. It’s a beautiful and imitate venue, and a superb place to see an gig.

We hung around the room for 5 mins or so, when one by one the band emerged and started mingling and chatting with the gathered crowd. After a few photos were taken, they went back to chatting with people and signing whatever they’d brought along. I’d taken my original copy of Gordon (their first album) to be signed. I handed it to keyboard player Kevin Hearn, commenting that I felt a bit guilty handing it to him to sign (he wasn’t actually in the band at the time), to which he replied “Oh don’t worry, everyone says that when they had me this!” and smiled. People had bought all sorts of things to sign. Posters, CDs (or in one ladies case, a stack of 8!), and one guy even brought his ukulele, which of course, Jim proceeded to play…

After the signing and chatting was done, the guys got up on stage and worked through a few tunes for their sound check. Overall they played for around 40 mins, which included getting one very happy fan up on stage to play keyboards whilst Kev switched to guitar, and a rendition of These Apples for another fan who had requested it, but as it wasn’t on the set list for the evening, they obliged them with by performing it in the sound check!

All in all, totally worth the price of the ticket, and if you are a fan, and ever get a chance to by a VIP pass to one of their gigs, I suggest you do it. Thoroughly nice guys, and a great experience. Once the guys where done, we were kicked out of the venue for an hour or so before the actual gig started – thankfully the VIP wristbands also give you priority access back in, meaning no need to queue to get to the front. :)

The Gig

Boothby-Graffoe

Boothby Graffoe

Doors opened about 7pm, and we went in and settled on a place right up front by the barrier. After about an hour of people arriving, the room was full, and the support act Boothby Graffoe arrived on stage and started playing a few tunes, mixed in with a lot of jokes, messing around and being highly entertaining. Then the looming figure of Jim Creeggan bounded onto the stage behind him (to massive cheers from the crowd), and joined him on bass for a couple more tracks, intermixed with some audience participation… Only then to be joined by Ed Robertson, and Kevin (Kevin is also on Boothby’s Album NOMAD), who joined in with Kev on guitar and Ed on side drum (I’m assuming Tyler was backstage with his feet up at this point. 😉 ). The whole thing turned into Boothby Graffoe with backing from BnL! After about 40 mins of excellent music and joking around, they finish the set, and there’s another 30 min wait before the main event…

The lights dim, and the boys bounce out onto the stage, launching into an excellent rendition of Limits from the new album, followed by Never Is Enough, and Pinch Me – which of course resulted bras, pants and other clothing items being thrown on stage (see video at the top of the post) ;). What I love about BnL gigs is, even though they are plugging a new album, they have such a large back-catalog of songs to pick from now, they tend to keep a good mix of old and new. After a bit of chat from Ed, plus an awesome spontaneous rap about Birmingham and the slightly odd leveling of the balconies in The Institute…

(Ed did go on to say that really should be a real song, and i totally agree 😀 ) They next go into Who Needs Sleep, and Gonna Walk, and then Kev’s lead vocal on the very sweet All In Good Time. One of the things that’s very apparent from this performance is they’ve really found their feet again after Steve’s departure. A lot of the songs they did were predominately Ed led vocals, but when they reached Be My Yoko Ono, Boothby popped back on stage and performed a brilliant and hilarious version of the song (video below).

Moving towards the middle of the gig, the four guys move together around 1 mic for their acoustic set consisting of Smile from the new album, I Can Sing, from the brilliant kids album Snacktime, Maybe Katie, and one of my favorite classic BnL tracks, Blame It On Me.

Breaking back into their usual positions, they continue on with the classics as they launch into Brian Wilson (video above), followed by Did I Say That Out Loud? from Grinning Streak, which is about as BnL sounding as a track can get. This portion of the show also included the theme to the awesome Big Bang Theory, before rounding up with One Week (their biggest UK hit to date), and of course the legendary If I Had A Million Dollars, which resulted in Kev wearing a green dress, whilst he and Ed played baseball with cuddly toys (video below)…

After the guys said their thank you’s and good nights, there was time for one awesome final encore, in which Ed and Ty switched places, with Ed on drums and Ty belting out a very awesomely energetic version of Alcohol. The more i see of Ty, I can’t help but think he’s modeled his entire persona on Animal from the Muppets… 😉 At with that, it was over… If there’s one think to say about seeing BnL live, you can’t complain about not getting your money’s worth. A 2 and half hour gig, plus appearing with the support, you have yourself over 3hrs of Barenaked Ladies goodness, and that’s not including the extra VIP stuff.  A truly brilliant live band, still on top form after 25 years together. If they come to a town near you, go and see them, you won’t be disappointing!

I just wanted to say a thank you to some of the other BnL fans who have uploaded some of the videos used here to YouTube, as the battery died in my phone halfway through the gig! 

EDIT: Just added a playlist to YouTube including these and other videos! Click here to check it out. :)

 

Post by:
24 Mar 2009 | Leave a Comment

Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies - Ed, Kevin, Tyler and Jim

For those who don’t know Barenaked Ladies, they are a Canadian band who i’ve been a massive fan since about 1992 (read more about them here). They recently had an amicable split from Steven Page, one of their 2 frontmen.

They’ve decided to carry on as a band, and to show they can still rock it as 4 piece, they’ve released their first concert since the break as a free download until the 27th March 2009.

If your a fan, then it’s good, if a little weird, hearing all the songs you know sung by BNL, but a slightly different BNL. If you’ve never heard of BNL, download it and give them a try!

Click here to grab you copy while you can!

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13 Jan 2009 | Leave a Comment

As i’ve mentioned before on the site, i’m quite a big BNL fan, and this brilliant parody of the old BNL song ‘One Week’ popped on CollegeHumor this week. Genius 😀 (Warning, some of the language nsfw). 😉

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.
Post by:
20 Feb 2007 | One Comment


For their latest video, Barenaked Ladies decided to let the stars of Youtube do the hard work! Various of the more popular Youtubers come together to perform Barenaked Ladies’ “Sound of Your Voice” from the fantastic album “Barenaked Ladies Are Me” (not that i’m bias… huge HUGE BNL fan!). 😀 😉

The Performers include:
Where The Hell Is Matt?
Barats & Bereta
Geriatric 1927
Eepybird
New Numa
Album Cover Battle
Brookers
Boh3m3
The Winekone
Winston Spear
Evolution Of Dance

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