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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fun Times At Mr. Small's
or some other such woefully inadequate titling

Okay, so I used to hate going to Mr. Small's, the sanctuary-turned-concert-venue in one of the dullest mill towns in outer Pittsburgh, because the crowds were annoying, the sound system was horrible and the putrid smell of hot dog water wafted in from the vendor set up RIGHT in front of the intake fan outside the entrance.

Nothing heightens a rock show like the pervasive scent of hot wiener juice.

"Wiener juice" heehee

Oh CRAP. Here come the porn bots and freaky fetishists looking for a jolly. Sorry, Charlie. No scintillating abnormalities here. Oh, great. Now the midgets-wearing-diapers-and-oversized-bonnets enthusiasts are blowing up my timeline. Aaaaaand here come the firearm-stockpiling malcontents. Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera...

You see how this works? It's a slippery slope, People! This is how the fall of modern society silly-ass blog mention at a time like this one about... Um... what was I talking about? Oh yeah! Mr. Small's.

Aaaaywho, my self-imposed moratorium on this particular venue has definitely been lifted being as I will have frequented this establishment three times in as many weeks--last Thursday for my beloved Old 97's (for whom I will travel to the very pits of Hell to see), Thursday night for quirky They Might Be Giants, and next Friday for Scottish rockers, Frightened Rabbit.

Last week's Old 97's show was spectacular, as always. There were at least 15 people in our group of devotees perched stage left, Murry side.

half the crowd plus a spare part
I've written so many times about their greatness live, that I have run out of superlatives and creative ways to effectively convey their superior stage performance. Lucky for you I have preached ad naseum here, here here, oh and here. (Sarcasm included at no extra charge)

courtesy Amy Crawford

courtesy of Frank Vilsack

courtesy of Frank Vilsack

time bomb jump courtesy of Amy Crawford

A couple fun notes about this particular show:

1. They barreled on stage with the perennial crowd pleaser, Barrier Reef. During the long musical intro, Rhett's acoustic wasn't up to snuff so he ended up guitarless for the start of the vocal. Clearly not knowing what to do with his unexpected idle hands, he put one on the mic stand and the other awkwardly in his pocket. Adorable. Eventually his electric appeared, restoring his comfort zone.

2. A lovely, spirited blonde girl of four years dancing and twirling on the far edge of the stage caught Rhett's eye. He sprinted over, guitar in hand, to say hi only to SCARE THE LIVING CRAP out of her. She leapt into her mother's arms and buried her face in Mommy's neck. Poor Baby. Rejected by a 4 year-old. Ha Ha! Mr. M made up for it later by personally handing the tot his setlist. She'll appreciate his gesture later in life, after she puts a little salve on that emotional scar.

the moment just before Rhett scared the tiny tot

3. Dude! They played Can't Get a Line!! Old 97's fans will be the only one's excited by that fact. They also played Busted Afternoon (another rarity) and No Baby I, the song from which this illiterate piece of blog gets its title. (Everytime the Blue-eyed one sings this one, I pretend he's singing it just for me. Shut up. It's my fantasy, dammit.)



4. Oh, and hey! No eau du wiener juice! Score.

*link to the rest of Frank Vilsack's photos here

Fast forward to Wednesday night...

They Might Be Giants is a band that has been around since 1982, but this is the first time I've ever seen them live. Geo and I amassed several of their early efforts, but nothing of late. They are uber prolific. They are also hard to pigeon hole, what with their nerd pop, accordion-laced, short-form witty observations on tiny life moments. They have also produced three children's albums.

The joint was packed to the gills, so Sue and I opted to hang in the bar corral just behind the sound board. The opener, Moon Hooch, consisted of three guys, two of whom wielded a big tenor sax and weird oboe thingie which made everything sound a little Philip Glass-ish. Sue dubbed this new genre, Sax Rock. Sucking down a couple heavy-handed V & Ts helped make them tolerable.

um...i can't feel my face

When TMBG took the stage, all the lovable nerd boys behind us sang along to everything, which I sincerely appreciate because the charm of TMBG songs is the cleverness of the lyrics which were nearly impossible to decipher, what with the marginal acoustics in the Baby Jesus' cavernous former home.


The band played for nearly two hours, bantering with the crowd, popping up in the balcony, making up a song about Mr. Small's.

And then this happened.


Pretty entertaining evening. No confetti cannons this time, but a fun time for sure.

Old 97's setlist
Barrier Reef
Won't Be Home No More
Brown Haired Daughter (Murry started writing this one, Rhett finished it)
W Texas Teardrops
Lonely Holiday (one of Geo's faves)
No Baby I (for me. that's my story. shut up)
Champaign, IL
Victoria Lee
Can't Get a Line (!!!)
Please Hold On While the Train is Moving
Busted Afternoon
Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue
I'm a Trainwreck
Big Brown Eyes
The Easy Way (another rarity)
4 Leaf Clover

Rhett solo:
Long Long Long

Every Night Is Friday Night
Rollerskate Skinny
Time Bomb

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