The Triple Door is an unusual venue. It’s actually a supper club where the audience eats overpriced meals served by asshole waiters who look like Glen Hansard. Yes, food is ordered, served, and eaten during the show. There’s something disconcerting about eating chicken phat thai while the Young Fresh Fellows are onstage ripping it up. It’s just weird. I like the venue, though. The sound is good, the audience is respectful, and the sightlines can’t be beat. It’s just strange eating during a concert. Of course, if the show had taken place anywhere else, we wouldn’t have gotten to hear the following Robyn Hitchcock bon mot:
Thank you for eating and digesting with us.
The Young Fresh Fellows opened the show. Although I’ve seen Scott McCaughey play with R.E.M., this was my first time seeing one of his proper bands. The Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows just don’t make it out to my part of the country very often. I didn’t even know the Young Fresh Fellows still existed. I thought they’d died a quiet death years ago. Not only are they still around, but Scott McCaughey said they’ve got a new record set for release later this year. They played a couple songs from it and it sounds like it’s going to be another good one.
The Young Fresh Fellows put on an amazing, energetic show crammed full of catchy pop. The seats at the Triple Door have a bit of give to them and I found that my chair was sort of bobbing up and down in time to the music. I guess I was chair dancing. It was a lot of fun. I was sorry when they ended their set.
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 came out next. Our seats were over by the side just a few feet off the stage. I could’ve literally gotten on the stage with one hop. I’m not into stage crashing, though; I prefer to sit back and watch Robyn Hitchcock sing his songs and blurt out his nonsensical gibberish. I also discovered that Peter Buck is probably the coolest guy I’ve ever seen in person. He played guitar right in front of me. The view was fantastic.
Unfortunately, my view of Peter Buck (and Robyn himself) didn’t stay unimpeded for long. Sean Nelson was soon invited onstage for background vocalizing. He stood right in front of me and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening sticking his finger in his ear, making annoying hand gestures, and going up on his tippy-toes every time he had to sing a semi-high note. Not only that, but he was wearing low-cut Doc Martens with white socks and rolled-up blue jeans. I can forgive him blocking my view of superior musicians, but that fashion faux pas is unforgivable. Oh, and he looks exactly like Freddie Bartholomew as Little Lord Fauntleroy. Ugggh.
Even with Sean Nelson’s incredibly distracting stage presence, Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 still managed to put on a great show. This was the first night on their tour of Australia and North America, but it didn’t sound like they were out of practice. The band was on. They played six songs from their most recent release, Goodnight Oslo, but the rest of the set featured a selection of songs going all the way back to 1981’s Black Snake Diamond Role. “Airscape”, “Flesh Number One”, and “Madonna of the Wasps” were highlights.
My personal favorites were “Saturday Groovers” and “Viva! Sea-Tac.” Those are currently my two favorite Robyn Hitchcock songs and I was so happy that I got to hear them live. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I might have actually sung along to “Viva! Sea-Tac” (especially the line about “computers and coffee and smack”). I apologize to Homebody, Kurt Bloch, and everyone sitting around me. It just couldn’t be helped.
Of course, the show also featured a lot of Robyn’s famous between song monologues. He talked about Earl the Penguin and a bunch of other topics I’ve already forgotten, but one comment stood out and stuck in my head:
The question is: If you were the bear, what would be the honey?
I’m still trying to figure that one out.
Here are the setlists for the Triple Door show. The Robyn Hitchcock setlist is accurate and complete. I’m having a bit of difficulty coming up with titles for a couple of the Young Fresh Fellows songs. I’ve included lyrics for the songs I didn’t recognize (usually the first line). Send me a message if you know their real titles.
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3:
Main set: Out of the Picture/Airscape/The Lizard/What You Is/Hurry For the Sky/N.Y. Doll/Viva! Sea-Tac/Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)/The Authority Box/Saturday Groovers/Madonna of the Wasps/Up to Our Nex/Jewels For Sophia
Encore: The Ghost Ship (solo acoustic)/The Wreck of the Arthur Lee (solo acoustic)/Creeped Out/I’m Falling/Goodnight Oslo
Young Fresh Fellows:
Setlist: Gotta Get Away/The Guilty Ones/Power Mowers Theme/Mr. Salamander’s Review/Go Blue Angels Go/Mamie Dunn, Employee of the Month/Lamp Industries/The Sharing Patrol Theme/(Ain’t Too Proud to Beg)/Let the Good Times Crawl/If You Believe in Cleveland/Why I Oughta/Celebration/”She’s so pretty…”/Suck Machine Crater/Back Room of the Bar/Don’t You Wonder How It Ends?