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Fan Recaps and Comments:


i'm pretty sure that THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS


They opened with "Ana Ng," followed by "Damn Good Times." During the intro of the latter, when the band was already playing but Flans was talking before the vocal kicked in (which he is quite fond of doing, particularly when the song is one of the first few of the night), he said Portland is "the only town that counts." (I knew he was joking but I was still mildly bothered by this as a Seattleite dealing with the Seattle vs. Portland rivalry).

Afterwards, Flans was referring to the people who were around the edge of the room, which was blocked off by a barrier--he said they were in East Berlin. John: "We hope you'll think about what you did." Then he said that Flans hadn't said the thing about this being "the only town that matters" at any of the other shows they've done on this tour, and Flans said it's because a big percentage of the population of Portland is rock critics. Then he said that thing that keeps making me so sad, about how they have a new album and when they say they're going to play a song from it we should pretend to be enthusiastic about it.

After "I Left My Body" (great as always), "Your Racist Friend" (still meh on this song but I do love the trumpet-party-break section with Curt), and "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal" (causing me to rock way out), John got out his contra-alto clarinet. He said it's "lower than the bass clarinet and at war with the alto clarinet."

They played "All Time What," then Flans asked John what he'd done all day. He said he'd "wandered around and dodged the raindrops--apparently it rains in this town." Flans said he did not go to the record store (there's an Everyday Music very close to the venue that he's been known to frequent when they're in town), which meant he had more money than he otherwise would've.

There was some funny banter after that. Flans said they'd gotten to stay at an actual nice hotel the night before, which was unusual for them. Then John said they were wearing crooked top hats and saying "We're gonna make it some day!" Flans said the hotel looked like "a movie set from the '30s," and they took something off a tray of food that probably cost $40. John said they were going to escape on a luggage cart disguised as luggage, and Flans compared them to Harpo Marx. Then John said that next they'd be running and their feet would make bongo sounds. So silly!

They played "Turn Around," which was SO GOOD, much better than the night before when John hadn't used his accordion due to technical difficulties.

After "Spy" and "The Mesopotamians," Flans explained that they're playing two sets, and the second set was "all hits," but they were hits by other bands. John said they're not even good bands, and Flans said they're "under the thumbs of our management," who are really mean to them.

They played "This Microphone," and then Flans said it's on their new album. He said it just came out on vinyl, and that it's a gatefold sleeve, which you can "clean your Oregon pot on."

Flans introduced "Bills, Bills, Bills" by again explaining how they'd been to the AV Club to cover a song for them. He said they first did "Tubthumping," but they weren't going to be playing that tonight because "if you sing it once you'll be singing it all week." He said he was going to be Kelly, John was going to be Beyonce ("a role he originated on Broadway"), and "the members of the band not with us will be playing the part of Michelle." So then they played it, and as always I was completely enraptured by Flans's full-on diva-ness.

They closed out the first set with "Birdhouse in Your Soul," which is a perfect set closer cos there's so much energy in the room when they play it.

Second set started the usual way, with the "Last Wave" video (which I was really tired of at this point, I never really liked it much in the first place and this was like the millionth time I'd seen it) and then "Older" to kick off Quiet Storm. I've been enjoying it on the contra-alto clarinet so much that it'll be a bit sad to (presumably) go back to it on keyboard when all this is over.

Flans pointed out the balcony was really far back and said it was "a mistake." John said it was the section for nursing mothers, and Flans said they'd combined that with the section for cigar smokers.

Flans introduced "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" by saying it was "one of the first songs we wrote," and then confessed that they're actually vampires (explains a lot!). John said not to post that on social media, but then said that it actually wouldn't matter because they wouldn't show up.

After they played it, Flans said not enough people were taking pictures with their phones, and he was "distracted by not being distracted."

Next was MY THEME SONG, still intense and special and emotional and wonderful every single time. It makes me sad to realize that this tour may be the only time I'll get to see it, but I'm just grateful to have been able to as many times as I have.

Flans said that the electronic drums have "all the power of EDM and all the musicality of not-EDM." Then he said the last song was from John Henry, and why don't they play more songs from that album? "Because it's not very good." (As someone for whom John Henry holds the elevated status of not only the album containing my all-time favorite song but also is tied for my #1 album overall, you can imagine what my reaction to this comment was.)

They played "How Can I Sing Like a Girl?," and then the rest of the band came back on stage for "Istanbul," including the crazy jam session at the end. Afterwards, John said he needed to catch his breath and he wanted them to talk for a minute before they played the next song, which made him sound like such an old man. Flans asked us how we were enjoying the sprung dance floor, then said maybe they should talk about some prostitution scandal (I'm not sure what he was referring to) or the "useless" tariffs Trump is proposing. John said he's divesting his money from steel and investing it in "Waynecoin. It's a psychedelic cryptocurrency. You feel like you're tripping, and then all your money is gone."

Then they played "Mrs. Bluebeard." At this point I took it as a foregone conclusion that John would screw up the lyrics since he had every other time I'd seen it, and sure enough he did. For the second time at the shows I've been to, he actually acknowledged the fact that he did afterwards. His excuse was that he'd been distracted cos he'd been trying to move the microphone with his lips so he could reach the higher part of his keyboard, but the crew had tightened it too much and it hadn't moved. Flans said that what he likes is when the crew sets up his mic stand so it's too tall for him, cos he's flattered that they think he's "of higher stature" than he really is.

Next came "Particle Man," "Wicked Little Critta," and "New York City." Then Flans said the next song features Dan on acoustic guitar. Dan played a little something, and Flans said it was from Dan's collection of "unreleased b-sides" and was entitled "Ah Fuck It." John said something about it reminding him of the Motel 6 commercials, and Flans went off on a classic hilarious Flans thing with him pretending to be Tom Bodett and saying "we'll leave the bugs out for you." Then he said if you're a rock band who wants to be sued you should just say that Motel 6 has bugs.

They played "Number Three," and then Flans went back to riffing on the Motel 6 thing (in character). He said if you're coming there and you have a dog with bugs/mange you should bring them and let them pee all over the carpet.

They played "When the Lights Come On," Flans introduced the band, and then they closed out the main set with the reliably superfun "Doctor Worm."

The first encore was the same spectacular duo as almost all the other shows on this West Coast trip: "Dead" followed by "Don't Let's Start." The second encore was "Man, It's So Loud in Here" and then "Fingertips."

It was a great set and a great show! A teensy bit disappointing because the setlist was nearly exactly the same as the previous night in Seattle, and the only reason it wasn't exactly the same was that they'd removed a couple of the particularly great songs they'd played, but otherwise no complaints.

After the show, I was hanging around the stage trying to get a setlist. I didn't get one, but I did snag something else really cool: a signed drumhead from Marty! That was a first for me. I think he might've given it to me because I told him I recognized his shirt as being from <a href="">Out of Print Clothing</a>, one of my absolute favorite shops (the one with the cover of The Metamorphosis that he's been wearing a lot lately), and we chatted about that a bit. Between that and him giving me a setlist a couple of days before, I finally felt like I could accept him as a full real member of the band--I've still been thinking of him as "the new guy" all this time. I feel silly saying that as he's been in the band for going on a decade and a half now, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Marty's skills as a drummer or kindness as a person, both of which are clearly quite high--I just don't deal with change particularly well.

JL wardrobe report: a black pullover jacket, not too exciting, except for when he pushed up the sleeves for the second half of the show (I always love seeing his arms that way, it's much more exciting than when he's just wearing a t-shirt for reasons I can't really articulate).