Shepherds Bush was, disappointingly, not sold out - though this might in part be due to them playing places other than London in the UK this time round. Their alleged obscurity meant that I couldn't even give my ticket away and so, ever intrepid, I ventured on alone. It was a really fun night, as you'd expect from TMBG.
On the day before I tried to borrow my daughter's slim line camera (knowing I wouldn't be welcome with a DSLR, only to find that it was playing up. On the train up I discovered that my camera phone had packed in as well. My attempts to remain upbeat were squashed a bit by being able to stand four people back from the front barriers - a blessing to have such a good spot but frustrating that I could have got some great shots from there.
When, after the opener You're On Fire, the band invited the photographers in the pit up on stage for some crowd shots, I was - I confess - a little envious. Big kudos to Helen Parish, one of the lucky four, for uploading her's onto the interweb. All the pictures you see here are her's.
There is a real party atmosphere at TMBG gigs. The sock puppets (yes, really) and daft songs are part of it, as is the feeling (knowledge) that you are in on a good secret as to how darned good this band is. Quirky and clever yes, but also the pruveyors of extremely fine songs in a variety of styles. There's something for everyone and if you don't like this one, there will be another along in two to three minutes.
Plenty of banter with the audience including the self-deprecating line, "We ruin you for other bands".
I think that this is the setlist, though I am slightly hazy on the order of a couple of them. How many bands play their biggest hit third song in?
1 You're On Fire
2 Damn Good Times
3 Birdhouse In Your Soul
4 The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
5 Don't Let's Start
8 Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
9 Black Ops
12 Can't Keep Johnny Down
13 Boss Of Me / Circular Karate Chop
14 32 Footsteps
15 Memo To Human Resources
17 Call You Mom
18 Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
19 Ana Ng
20 New York City
21 Rhythm Section Want Ad
22 He's Loco
23 When Will You Die?
24 The Mesopotamians
25 Number Three
26 Doctor Worm
As always with your favourite band there were some things in there you'd like to have seen more than others but a fine set all the same. One of my personal highlights was "When Will You Die?" (which is very funny as well as being a great song) followed by The Mesopotamians in the first encore.
Here is the first of those, accompanied by an interesting film....