Shows/Mono Puff/1996-06-26

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Setlist: (incomplete and possibly out of order)


Mono Puff
— with J.T. and Wayne opening —
Silk City Lounge in Philadelphia, PA
June 26, 1996 at 10:00 PM

Fan Recaps and Comments:

This was one of the most poorly promoted concerts in history. I only heard about it because Flans did an online forum on AOL, and mentioned that MP would be playing in Philly on the 26th. He didn't mention where. None of the radio stations I called knew anything about it. TicketBastard knew nothing (which was a blessing; last week they told me that Elvis Costello tickets would go on sale "on Saturday"; I stood in line for an hour and a half to find out that I was exactly one week early). I literally spent hours searching for the specifics on the WWW. Eventually I found two web pages with information: one said they'd be playing at the Silk City Lounge, and one said they'd be playing at TLA (a popular Philly nightclub). Calls to both establishments produced "I don't know" responses. Later I called Silk City Lounge and found out the truth. The concert was to start at 8:30.

The Silk City Lounge is a tiny bar attached to an authentic 1950's diner. The food at the diner was more modern, and very good. (It's on Spring Garden St. just near the corner of 5th--go and eat!) The whole look and feel of the diner is worth the trip. I had to resist the temptation to order a chocolate malted, a hamburger sandwich, and french-fried shoestring potatoes, as I'd already had dinner. My wife Trish and I munched sweet potato fries while waiting for the doors to open at 8:00.

The lounge itself has a tiny stage with a tiny dance floor, and a small bar in the back. The bar sports what appeared to be a bust of Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but which Trish assured me was a bust of Elvis Presley. I still have my doubts.

The cover charge was $6.00.

The opening act, "J.T. and Wayne", didn't start playing until 9:00. There were exactly 16 people in the audience. J.T. and Wayne were two guys who played guitars and sang, at the level of competent amateurs. Many of the songs were rather funny. One song about black helicopters and Freemasonic computers had Trish and I in stitches. One song was called "It Was Supposed to be Stevie Wonder's Penis, but it's Really Just a Blind Guy's Penis", or some such. J.T. mentioned that he was from my hometown of Bethlehem, PA, and did a song about Bethlehem-founder Count Zinzendorf's bizarre beliefs. I asked him about it afterwards, and he says that these revelations only came to light recently. They must have, because in Moravian sunday school I never learned that Count Zinzendorf believed that Christ's wounds were female genitalia, or that the early Moravians had a blue box where newlywed couples made love for the first time under the supervision of church officials. Nowadays Janet Reno would have had him killed for that.

But I digress. MP started playing at 10:00, but they only played for an hour. I counted 24 people in the audience when they started. I don't have a set list, and I didn't think to write it down as it was happening. Sorry. There wasn't a bad song in the set.

Flans has surrounded himself with gifted musicians once again. They all clearly enjoyed playing the music, and the audience caught that vibe. The real standout (aside from JF) was Steve Calhoon, the drummer. The man is a demon. His whole body undulates in time with the music, with his head snapping back and forth alarmingly. See him before his brain is too rattled to play.

They didn't play "Tryptophan". Bummer.

"Dr. Kildare" really rocked. They played several instrumentals with which I was unfamiliar, and they rocked, too. These guys can play!

"The Devil Went Down to Newport" was greeted enthusiastically. He sang it in a quirky, staccato style. I don't know if that's the way he sings it on the record (I haven't heard it yet), but it really worked in concert.

They played "Oddball" by Frank Black. He said it was a Mono Puff B-side of a Frank Black B-side. Is it on the DWDtN single, I wonder? I need a copy of that song.

Other songs I remember--because I knew them from the Hello CD--were "What Bothers the Spaceman", "So Long, Mockingbird", and "Unsupervised, I Hit My Head". JF dedicated WBtS to Angie Dickinson, whom he saw on a talk show when he was a kid. It was then that he realized it was possible to be completely stoned and still talk to a large group of people.

After a 50-minute set they called it a night. By this time there might have been 30 people in the whole place. We clapped appreciatively, though, and Flans came out and played one more song, "New York City", accompanied by Steve Calhoon on a bongo.

It was a great concert. Very intimate, very much fun.

I bought a cool Mono Puff t-shirt. They didn't bring any CD's, which was too bad, because I'd have bought one. They'd have lost less money.

Afterwards, Flans came out and hobnobbed. He signed a Hello Recording Club flyer that I picked up. We also discussed his appearance on A-hOLe, and he pointed me to a Mono Puff discussion group he formed there. I checked it out this morning, and he's posting an ongoing diary of the tour. I asked a few questions, and if I get any responses, I'll let you in on what he says.

-- K.