Bare Naked Ladies at the Uptown was a classy lesson in rock and roll bonhomie (and a great show at a terrific venue).
Kicking things off with “Odds Are,” the first single from their new CD Grinning Streak (check out the very funny BNL video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sw9Fh6uk4Q), lead singer Ed Robertson (a ringer for actor Adam Arkin, or vice versa) and bass player Jim Creggan hopped and hollered through 100+ minutes of musical mirth and melancholy. Drummer Tyler Stewart rocked the room while the versatile Kevin Hearn (taking over for original Naked Lady Steven Page) played just about every band instrument known to man.
Fans of the band’s desert island level album Stunt weren’t disappointed when “Never Is Enough” followed the opening number. The party kept growing with the funny, funky “Pinch Me” (are these the greatest song titlers in North America or what?) and never looked back.
Robertson showed his freestyle rapping skills with an ode to our bifurcated metro. I never realized there was competition between KCK and KCMO; but, hey– Ed and the audience had a great time with it. “I Like Kansas” won’t be showing up as a BNL download any time soon, but those who sang along at the Uptown had a blast.
As at any BNL concert, there was plenty of audience participation. “Brian Wilson,” “The Old Apartment” and “If I Had a Millon Dollars” scored big points with their Mo-Kan (or “ocean averse,” as Robertson put it) fans. You can’t really singalong on the “Big Bang” theme, but everybody nailed the button.
At times melancholy and bittersweet, other times rollicking, this band of very smart rockers — anchored by some fine ironic writing– has been around for 25 years now. Moving smoothly from rock band mode into a finely-honed acoustic quartet, BNL tugged at all the right emotions in a set that was equal parts loosey-goosey and tight. And they were definitely having fun.
By the time Robertson and company closed with a giggly rendition of the Boss’s “Blinded by the Light,” the sold out Uptown crowd was smiling from ear to ear. Stewart took over the vocals for the encore highlight “Alcohol,” sending Cowtowners from both sides of the state line out into the Westport night wondering, “How hard can it be to just get along?”
If they can do it in Ottawa, why not in DC?