Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I didn’t like Jonathan Coulton the first time I saw him in concert at the Majestic in downtown Madison. There. I said it. It was my dark secret, but now it’s out in the open. Unleash your very worst flames in the comments, I deserve them all.

Paul & Storm opened for him and, after a frenetic hour of their wide-open comedy, Coulton shuffled to the front of the stage with the downcast expression of a teenager dragged to his great-aunt’s 93rd birthday party. He kept doing that between songs and I thought, Well, damn, if he doesn’t want to be here, why did he bother coming?

I didn’t like his fans much, either. They wouldn’t shut up. Every one of them knew every word to every song he played that night and sang along with the kind of reckless abandon you don’t normally find outside a karaoke bar.

By the end of the night, though, I was screaming “ALL I WANNA DO IS EAT YOUR BRAINS!” along with the rest of them, and the next morning My Darling B and I sat on the sofa for an hour or more playing “Skullcrusher Mountain” over and over so we could learn the words. “Code Monkey” too.

Since then, he’s been back to Madison twice, and we have more fun at each concert than we did at the last one, although if I had to rate them I’d have to say I enjoyed his appearance at the Barrymore Theater more than any of the others, partly because we had awesome seats just a dozen or so feet from the stage, but mostly because he played a set of songs that were tweeted to him by fans before the show that turned out to be oddly, coherently wistful and sweet, and he seemed to get really into them. And he ended the set by playing “Birdhouse of Your Soul” instead of “Sweet Caroline.”

I’ve been waiting patiently for new music from Coulton. It came out a little while ago, and I finally downloaded it last weekend, playing it over and over while I puttered away with my toys in the basement. And now I can’t get this song out of my head! DAMN YOU JONATHAN COULTON! (And you, too, John Roderick.) It’s the most wonderful earworm I’ve ever experienced, and Coulton’s new album is just packed with jewels like this!

Well played!

P.S. Just what does “even the suit has teeth” mean, anyway?

toothy | 10:07 pm CDT
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Monday, February 27th, 2012

Just a guy with a ukelele.

Same guy, with a guitar this time. Other guy’s got a uke.

balloon | 6:10 am CDT
Category: entertainment, music, play | Tags: ,
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Sunday, April 24th, 2011

While we were waiting in line for the doors to open at the Majestic last night, a car coming up King Street pulled a yooie in the middle of the block, trying to swing into the open parking spot right in front of the theater. It was a small car and had an impressively tight turning radius, but the driver had a little too much confidence that it would be able to squeeze through that turn without hitting the curb. Everyone in line winced and more that a few sucked air in through their teeth when the undercarriage of the car connected with the cement of the curb with a grinding noise that we could feel in our bones. Backing off the curb, the driver slid easily into the parking slot after realigning the wheels and the passengers started to climb a little self-consciously out of the car.

Barely a minute or two later, another compact car did exactly the same thing, only this time everyone was laughing, even the guys who were getting out of the first car, making it extremely awkward for the guys in the second car to even think about getting out. The driver of the first car made it a little easier for them by explaining what had just happened, though.

When the doors finally opened and we got into the theater, we headed straight for the balcony. There is a row of seats on either side of the stage, and we’ve been lucky enough to snag a couple chairs up there every time we’ve seen this show. The luck held last night. Not only that, but the seats right next to the stage were open! Score!

We hadn’t been sitting there more than a couple minutes when who should come visit us at our seats than the guy who got out of the second car. “I wonder if I could ask a favor,” he appealed to me; “My brother and I have seen every Jonathan Coulton concert from these seats …”

I didn’t want to be the one to break this guy’s streak, so we traded seats with him — and ended up with the balcony seats we saw our first Jonathan Coulton concert from. Even more coincidentally: The people sitting next to us were the people sitting there when we saw Coulton the first time and they were the people in the first car that scraped the curb. Small world.

Curb appeal | 4:19 pm CDT
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Ears: Still ringing. Voice: Intermittent and hoarse. Smile: Still broad and frequent after last night’s concert at the Majestic with Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton.

Paul & Storm did a great set, starting off right this time with “We Are The Opening Band.” They tried mixing it up when they came here once before by opening with another song and didn’t get to “Opening Band” until two or three songs into the set, confusing the hell out of ever fan who came that night. We have never fully recovered, but last night’s concert went a long way toward our hopes for a full rehabilitation someday.

Jonathan Coulton had a back-up band with him last night! So we got to hear lots of old favorites, as well as some new songs, in full rock-out mode. The new songs would have been even more exciting if we’d been able to hear the lyrics … and here I go again into my grumpy old man riff:

Why doe the backing band have to be so goddamned loud? Are there really people who go to a Jonathan Coulton concert who don’t want to hear the words? I find that really hard to believe. Although the music is great, the nerd appeal of the lyrics has to be a huge draw. I snatched a phrase or two out of the cacophony but, for the most part, the new material was completely lost to me. I’ll have to buy the album after it’s released to find out just how great those songs really were. Hmmm, maybe that’s the ploy. Clever, Coulton, very clever.

Not that overblown volume of the concert kept us from enjoying ourselves. My Darling B was dancing in her seat just about the whole concert through, and we had great seats up in the balcony, the same seats we had when we saw this show for the first time, many moons ago. Of all the times I’ve seen them here in Madison I think I liked the show they did at the Barrymore best, but every show has its own pluses and the full-on rock mode of this one added a lot to it.

Full-on | 11:15 am CDT
Category: entertainment, music, My Darling B, O'Folks, play, show, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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