Friday, March 14, 2008

St. Patrick's Day II: The Saw Doctors

So this is the show that I am fresh back from tonight: the Saw Doctors at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. These guys rock. They simply rock.

Ben (with whom I saw The Magnetic Fields recently, as detailed here) and his girlfriend Julie came into town for this one. I met them at Penn Station, and we trekked to the Midtown hotel where they are staying, which was rather nice, I have to say. We ate some 'cue at Spanky's on 43rd. (Julie and I had pulled pork sandwiches with green beans and baked beans respectively, and Ben had a brisket sandwich with some candied yams. These candied yams were nowhere near as good as the ones that I had the other night at Amy Ruth's, but the barbecue fix was great overall.) And then we made our way to the Nokia Theatre.

The opening act was Gordon Gano from the Violent Femmes. I had been really excited to see him. Well, you win some, and you lose some. The songs were fine, and we got to see Gordon Gano bust out his fiddle, but there wasn't much substance there. The crowd was respectful or perhaps even encouraging. So maybe it was just me who wasn't feeling it. But I was a little disappointed. Maybe I just wanted to hear "Blister in the Sun."

As soon as The Saw Doctors took the stage, the Nokia Theatre was theirs. They opened with "N17," and everyone was singing along. I love shows like that. When They Might Be Giants used to do their monthly stand at the Mercury Lounge--they now do it at the Bowery Ballroom, a bigger venue, and most recently did a one-off show at the Beacon Theatre, an absolutely huge venue--the crowd's singing along would almost be overpowering. This wasn't quite at that level, but it was great to hear everyone shouting out the lyrics and to see everyone throwing up their hands in the air.

As I mentioned in my post listing these shows, when I first saw these guys, the crowd was mostly thirtysomethings with small children--and I'm talking about the people who were right down front! Well, this crowd was a terrific mix of twentysomethings, thirtysomethings and beyond. There was a great range of folks--predominantly Irish-looking folks--there to enjoy this band.

And they just put on a terrific show. No one stopped dancing or singing until it was over. And no one walked away disappointed.

The set looked like this:


"Macnas Parade"

"Michael D. Rocking In The Dail"

"You're In Love with Someone Else"

"Tommy K" - during this song Ben questions whether or not the drummer is wearing any clothing on the lower half of his body; we later determine that he is wearing shorts

"She's Got It" - this song name-checked John Prine with the lyric "The way she reads my mind; / The way she loves John Prine"; for a list of other songs that name-check John Prince, see here

"All the Way from Tuam" - dedicated to the people in the audience actually from Tuam

"Midnight Express"

"Stars Over Cloughanover"

"Green and Red of Mayo" - simply awesome with everyone signing along; I sang it all the way from the theatre to the 1-train stop at 50th street

"Galway and Mayo" - Leo Moran segues into "Maroon and White Forever," his poem/song about the Galway football team

"Share the Darkness" - this song is so excellent, and despite rumors to the contrary, it is not about Guinness

"I'd Love To Kiss The Bangles" - yeah, you know where it ends up: "Jesus Christ almighty, I'd love to bang The Bangles!"; tickets are on sale now, as I understand it

"Exhilarating Sadness" - with the lyric "I still see your likeness through the years"

"Who's a Lucky Boy?" - a song from their next CD

"Clare Island" - another crowd favorite; Leo just turned the first chorus over to the crowd instantly, and we did not let him down; the bassist played a sax solo

"I Useta Love Her" - the crowd gets into the band's breakthrough song

"To Win Just Once" - the crowd goes nuts again

"I'll Be on My Way"

"Bless Me Father" - not quite as rocking as we had hoped

"That's What She Said Last Night" - the keyboardist gets his moment to step out front and sing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" in the middle of the song

ENCORE: "Red Cortina" - the band all switches instruments for the final chorus of this song; Davy Carton ends up on the drums - pretty cool

"Chips" - played at a fast tempo

"Joyce Country Ceili Band" - oh yeah: get that accordion out there!

"Why Do I Always Want You" - yes, this still is one encore: it was epic

"What a Day" - oh, they just kept going

"Hey Wrap" - including the Beastie Boys' "You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party" in the middle: now, that is a solid New York ending

Like I said, they just rocked from start to finish. A great show from a great band that likes to entertain and that has a group of loyal fans who like to sing along.

Oh, and by the way, like in the Lunasa/Karan Casey show, I noticed that the band relied much more heavily on "T'anks a million!" than "T'anks very much!" What happened? Was there some sort of all-Ireland memo? I hope that it hasn't reached Tom Landa of The Paperboys--he's my all-time favorite "T'anks very much!" guy.

The Saw Doctors return to New York on August 23rd for a 6pm show on Governor's Island, sponsored by the Highline Ballroom.

1 comment:

tribulus said...

Ive seen them 3 times at the barrowlands in Glasgow. Class!!