As you may have guessed from other music reviews that I've done here, the Barenaked Ladies
aren't exactly my kind of band. Although they have undoubtedly released some good singles (e.g. I love the tune "the Old Apartment"), they're pretty happy-go-lucky pop music for my tastes. That said, these guys put on an awesome live show.
Sunday's concert at the Charlottetown Driving Park was great. Although I missed most of opening bands the Novaks
and Two Hours Traffic
, the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves throughout the sunny afternoon and the arrival of the headliners provoked an enormous reaction.
Each of the five "Ladies" enjoy multiple roles throughout the concert, whether that be with a variety of instruments (an accordion, double bass, and no end of guitars were onstage), singing roles (their group harmonies were excellent), or through the inter-song banter than characterizes their shows. These guys can totally think on their feet, as the very humorous conversations between members onstage, improvised raps and songs (many incorporating local references), and musical snippets from a variety of sources consistently demonstrated.
The almost two hour show included lots of their most popular tunes (Brian Wilson, If I Had A Million Dollars, One Week, and more) as well as a couple of new tunes from their upcoming album. This mix got me to considering how the songs that became classics must have been received when they were unknown songs, as I think the reception to the newest tunes was certainly weakest (though still enthusiastic), showing how much familiarity is a part of what drives the musical hit parades.
In any case, the songs were good, the musicianship was great, and the value-added improvised chats and raps were just fantastic. If you're a big fan then I think these guys could put on one of the best concerts of your life (in addition to changing considerably with each performance), but even for an occasional listener like myself, you just can't ignore what a fantastic performance these guys give a live audience. Keep it up Ladies!