#TBT Barenaked Ladies “Fake Nudes” Tour

Interview By Mariko Margetson
From Fall/Winter Vandala Magazine 2017 (Free HERE)

The crowd that greeted the Barenaked Ladies for the first of two sold-out shows at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom on November 17 was full of die hards. A gregarious conglomerate of middle-aged suburbanites hell-bent on celebrating their former geek roots. A fine mix of Gen-Xers who have been fans of the band for most, if not all, of their 29-year tenure as Canada’s indie rock gods. After all, the Barenaked Ladies are responsible for starting the movement that made geek chic nearly three decades ago.

Who knows where we’d be without the goofy, up-tempo musings of Ed Robertson and Co. I fear we might be less confident in expressing our true selves, less accepting of things and ideas we don’t agree with, and less likely to stand up for those less fortunate than ourselves. In other words, thank goodness for the Barenaked Ladies.

The newest incarnation of the band from Scarborough Ontario includes original members Ed Robertson, Tyler Stewart and Jim Creeggan as well as newcomer Kevin Hearn. This fab four found themselves at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom for two sold-out shows on November 17 and 18 respectively. November 17 was also the release date for their new Album, the appropriately titled Fake Nudes.

As the title suggests, Fake Nudes is an easily digestible fourteen track compilation of songs that manage to simplify broad and often overly complicated subject matter into a sound byte you can hum along with on the drive to work, in the shower, or sipping coffee in the morning. It’s a mix of songs that we can all relate to and in typical BNL fashion, you find yourself too busy chuckling over the lyrics to fully recognize the depth to which they speak.

This theme of understated poignancy, if there is such a thing, matched the tone of their performance at the Commodore on Friday. Alan Doyle, former frontman for Great Big Sea made an appearance early on in the evening. Both he and Robertson also played the Commodore on November 19 for an event called Spirit of Canada: A Benefit for John Mann. John Mann is the lead singer for the notorious Celtic rock band out of Vancouver, Spirit of the West who was diagnosed with early onset dementia a few years ago.

I spent my formative years listening to Spirit of the West and their shows were always an event for me and my friends. John Mann is the first artist I ever idolized and if it weren’t for my obsession with Spirit of the West I might not have found myself obsessing over the likes of the Barenaked Ladies or Great Big Sea with as much enthusiasm as I did when I was young. I wasn’t expecting that emotional sucker punch the evening of November 17th. Something in the way Ed Robertson carried himself that evening had me wondering if he and his bandmates had been confronted with a similar blow.

Aside from the five songs from their brand new album, their set was a mash-up of beloved sing-a-longs that the genial, sold-out crowd swayed and sang to all night long. Even the new additions to the playlist are catchy enough to join in for the chorus. That said, the new album has a couple of gems like Flying Dreams that glide from the easy breezy bubble gum groove into almost ethereal territory. Tunes that might lose a little luster if they were recreated on a live stage. There are layers to this musical, intellectual foursome and to really appreciate what is on offer, you need to experience the thoughtfulness of the album and the playfulness of their concerts.

One of the best things about a Barenaked Ladies show is that they are always full of surprises. The surprise this night was a marathon mash-up of well-known numbers that started out with the theme song for Game of Thrones. Not an easy thing to pull off, but with the theatrical flair of Jim Creegan and the leaping ability of Tyler Stewart it becomes one of the evening’s highlights. I loved the little break dancing teaser in the middle too.

I left the Commodore feeling a mixture of nostalgia and camaraderie that to be totally honest took a few days to fully digest. Hats off to the Barenaked Ladies for sharing something that evening that I still can’t find the words to describe.

You can preview the bands latest album “Fake Nudes” online and is also out and is available at retailers! So be sure to grab your copy today. Plus Barenaked Ladies have announced their USA Tour Starting in June 2018

Barenaked Ladies Online:
www.barenakedladies.com/splash/
www.facebook.com/barenakedladies

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