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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Magnetic Fields in Boston (aka Stephin Merritt vs. Will Sheff)

The second show of The Magnetic Fields' two-night stand at Boston's Wilbur Theatre was full of memorable moments, and for anyone who's seen them before, you know I'm not just talking about the music. The back-and-forth between Stephin Merritt and bandmate/manager/longtime friend Claudia Gonson ranges anywhere from awkwardly amusing to flat-out funny, and we had a whole bunch of that between the 30-or-so songs they treated us to on Thursday night.

From Claudia's opinion on the Who playing the Superbowl ("It must have been a recession special. Aren't those guys like 70 or something?") to discussion of their intermission ritual (tea-warming and coke-snorting?), to the best place to avoid vampires (gay bars, because there are so many mirrors), the unplanned asides can bring as many laughs as the dry wit in Merritt's lyrics.

But one diatribe in particular struck me, mostly because I'm an Okkervil River fan. Here's what Mr. Merritt had to say before the band kicked into "We Are Having A Hootenanny", off their just-released "Realism"...
Stephin Merritt: So I was just buying this hat, in a clothing store - as you can tell, not a wrinkle on it - and they were playing an album by a band called Aqua-something River?

Claudia Gonson: Okkervil River.

SM: ... Okkervil River. And their instrumentation was shockingly similar to not only the Magnetic Fields new album, but... this show. And I have been telling interviewers how proud we were that nobody has ever had this lineup or anything like it, for two months or something like that, six or seven times a day. Oh yes, who has ever used the 8-string ukulele, acoustic guitar, cello, pianette, and auto-harp together?... Well, they [Okkervil River] have, I think it's auto-harp, cello, pianette, acoustic guitar, 8-string ukulele, and... mandolin, or something like that.

CG: The moral of the story is... don't buy hats.

SM: Yes, don't buy hats, before you play a show.

CG: Don't do anything before you play a show. Including eat gigantic Chinese food.

SM: Yes, that either. But also, they had quite good lyrics.

CG: What?

SM: They had quite good lyrics. Which was a problem for me.

(audience laughs)

SM: I'm used to saying "I'm not just the best lyricist in the English language, I'm the only lyricist in the English language".

(more laughter)

SM: But now there's competition on both fronts. I think they have industrial spies they've sent out...

(he looks suspiciously towards auto-harpist/vocalist Shirley Simms to his right)

SM: ... and it might be Shirley.

(and Shirley stares slyly back)
Gotta wonder if Okkervil River's Will Sheff had a serious case of burning ear on Thursday night as he received that fairly impressive long-distance compliment.

Also pointedly amusing, after the band descended into a downward spiral of banter during the encore, was this quick one...
CG: We're playing to 2300 people in a couple of days (ed: tonight at Brookyn's BAM), and we're going to get our act together. Be professional. We're going to dress up and shut up.

SM: Maybe it's better if you all pretend we ended after the second set. If there are any bloggers out there... (pauses)

CG: Please forget the last 10 minutes or so.

SM (continuing): ...get a life.

featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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