Where to start? Ever want to meet your childhood idol, or finally get to see that band/singer you listened to for 20+ years? That’s what I got to do on October 15th with my wife, who wasn’t as excited as I was, but still excited nonetheless.
We were shown to our seats, front and center, and there was a buzz in the air of the theatre. The feeling of anticipation was almost palatable. The show was supposed to start at 8pm. At 8:03pm you could tell that everyone in the theatre was leaning forward in their seats, almost unable to hold back the excitement. At 8:04pm the object of everyone’s affection’s music started. The theatre erupted in applause and the band wasn’t even on the stage yet.
Over the loudspeaker, we all heard the words we have been waiting for. “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Orpheum Theatre is proud to present: Weird Al Yankovic!”
Before that point, I did not think that the crowd’s applause could get any louder. I was wrong.
The band comes on stage and Weird Al walks up to the microphone with his accordion strapped to his chest. He stares, wide-eyed at the crowd, almost as if in surprise at the amount of people in the theatre that turned out in droves to see him. The band starts playing a polka tune and a Lady Gaga music video is projected onto a screen in the background. The music is silly, but you can’t help but sing along since you know the Lady Gaga song. The only difference, aside from the polka version of her tune, is that Weird Al is saying that you “can’t read my polka face.” Without missing a beat they transition into Womanizer by Britney Spears as the music video is shown behind the band. Next they transition into I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry. Next comes Tik Tik by Ke$ha, closely followed by So What by Pink. They then bring the song back around and finish with Polka Face.
After they finished, Weird Al puts away his accordion and goes up to the microphone. “We’re just about to finish our last song of the evening.” Laughter. “Now comes the part of the show that you’ve all been waiting for. The drum solo!”
The drummer looks up with the spotlight on him. He gets ready and is about to rock out. He hits a symbol once, and then throws his hands up in the air.
Then a 3 box screen comes up with Weird Al on the left and right screen and AL TV in the middle. That means he does an “interview” with a celebrity. They aren’t actually interviewed by him, he just takes an actual interview and makes up his own questions to the person. The first celebrity was Eminem. It starts out innocently enough and progresses into Eminem continuously asking “you know what I mean?” Weird Al then moves onto playing his parody Couch Potato of Eminem’s song Lose It. After about 30 seconds, “Eminem’s” arm reaches over and shuts off the song.
The stage goes black again. Weird Al is back on center stage, and they start performing TMZ, which is a parody of You Belong To Me by Taylor Swift. Even though the music is exactly the same, the words are vastly different. He sings about how everything celebrities do is announced on the TV show TMZ – which is pretty accurate. The song ends, and from the stage a deluge of bubbles blows forth into the crowd.
The stage goes black, and they show a bunch of short clips from various TV shows on which Weird Al is mentioned; truly showing that he has touched many people, many times, through many avenues.
He then goes retro and plays a song that he made in 1988, You Make Me. Now, the songs he’s been playing from his new albums are definitely great songs, but the retro songs are the ones I was waiting for. Once I recognized the first few notes of the song they were playing, I really started getting excited. I started to sing along with him, because I had learned those songs long ago. I also noticed that many in the crowd were singing along as well; there were a few even standing up and dancing. His music was the same as ever: catchy, funny, and amazing!
Throughout the rest of the show they played more Al TV interviews: Madonna, Robert Plant, Justin Timberlake, Keith Richards, and Jessica Simpson. They played more short clips where Weird Al was mentioned many times from one TV show to another. They played some of his new songs, they played some of his older songs.
During his song Wanna B Ur Lovr he was wearing a pink and black suit, and he got down from the stage and walked around the aisles, serenading people and grinding up on them. It was amazing to be so close to such an eclectic performer, who has managed to sell over 12 million albums over a 30 year period, and still manages to pound out amazing original songs and hilarious parodies. His singing was as great as ever; his voice never missing a note.
They ended the show with one of his widely-known songs, Fat. Al came out in his fat suit and the crowd roared. He bobbed and weaved on the stage in that fat suit, singing up a storm. He would jump and the lights would flash, and some people would jump up out of their seats as he landed, as if to emphasize that he was indeed, fat.
Weird Al is one of those types of performers that will perform until the day he dies, and with his last breath would say something to make you smile.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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