I ended up in a strange place for this show. I arrived early, as I am wont to do, and staked out a nice little spot right next to the microphone. It seemed ideal, I would be close enough to get good pictures and really I just like being close at shows. The place that I had staked out was right between two of the black speakers on the front of the stage. The space between these speakers created a little alley that was really the only way for a performer to access the very lip of the stage. When I arrived I thought nothing of this location. It seemed no more different or special than any other sport up front. It ended up being the most awkward spot in the entire place. You see both Laura Warshauer and Bob Schneider like move closer to the crowd than they already are for certain numbers, the only place they could do this was directly in front of my face. This led to Laura nearly hitting me in the head with her guitar, and on several occasions standing so close to me that had I leaned forward about an inch or two I could have looked up her skirt. I’m a gentleman who doesn’t go in for such shenanigans but were a less couth person in my place it would have happened. Her standing right over me felt strange because at shows I’m generally used to looking at the singer but when she was in that position I was left with craning my neck painfully, staring at her knees, and awkwardly looking around. I went with awkward. Then Bob Schneider came out and I felt like the night would return to a much less awkward place. The Bob treated us to a rousing rendition of I Got Some Pants On which required him the demonstrate said pants right in front of me. He then held the microphone out to the crowd so that would could all extoll our own pants and managed to sweat on me, which I’m certain some ladies there and probably some of the ladies I attended the show with would have loved. For me it was just kind of gross and a little awkward. Later in the show Bob mimed something at me which I think was the passing of an imaginary joint but I had no idea what to do because users are losers boys and girls. This resulted in me awkwardly looking at his hand turning to my friends and laughing. Now I kind of wonder if he was somewhat offended or hurt by my not taking the imaginary joint.
What’s that you ask? Was there music at this carnival of awkward? Why, yes, yes there was. Maybe I should tell you about it.
Laura Warshauer started a bit late and as a result played a very short set, though I actually think that the disrespect that the crowd showed her also led to her shortening the set a bit. I actually really liked what she brought to the stage. Her band is made up of two guitars and an electric violin and these blend well together to create these beautiful melodies. I was particularly impressed with the amount of sound they got out the two guitars. She played one and a gentleman from Sweden played another and they flowed so well when they played together. They both had this similar hard hitting playing style that really wrestled a lot of sound out of their guitars. Her lyrics were simple and honest and she delivered them with an honest passion. She attacked the microphone with reckless abandon and threw everything she had into the songs when they were fast and dialed back the attack but added a twinge of sultry to the slow songs. It was a really good performance.
The crowd however was not as good. The thing about Bob Schneider crowds, at least the ones in Denver is that they want to party and that’s all they really seem to want. They will talk through anything that isn’t compelling them to dance. They’ll even talk when Bob is on stage and decides to slow it down a bit. It’s kind of infuriating to me because I feel like it’s really disrespectful to talk through someone’s entire set. And talk the crowd did when Laura was on stage. She ended the set by playing Fools Rush In by Elvis. Which was kind of appropriate because she’d purchased a new guitar just that day in Denver and named the guitar Elvis. She wanted us to sing along, she implored us to sing along but as had been the case pretty much the entire set most of the crowd didn’t pay attention and the sound of the talking drowned almost out any singing that was coming from the crowd. After the song the other guitar played came back out on stage and she shook her head at him and they both walked off. That leads me to believe that either she ran out of time or got fed up. It’s a shame too because I would have liked to hear more from her.
I take notes at all of the shows I go to because I like to remind myself of what I’ve seen and make sure that I have things to write about. My notes for Bob Schneider were simply as follows: Bob Mother Fucking Schneider. That’s really all I needed to write because that’s all I needed to remember. I’ve seen Bob maybe five times now and every single time has been incredible. Bob Schneider is, quite simply, a showman. He creates an incredible spectacle of rock and rock in fused rap that is at times raunchy at times insightful and always a ridiculous amount of fun. He and his band have this ability to create music that insists on being danced to. I don’t really dance and even I found myself dancing (at least doing something akin to dancing that passes for dancing at times) they are polished and practiced and they execute perfectly. When they are up there on stage they are having the time of their lives every single one of them. There is so much joy on stage during these shows, the band member play off each other and joke around. The atmosphere that they create on stage enhances the party atmosphere in the crowd and ramps it up ten fold until everyone is moving and shaking and singing along. And then there’s this guy:
Now that is the world’s worst picture. I wish I had another one but I don’t. That man there in the coveralls and safety goggles, you can’t really see them in the pic but trust me they are there, is Ollie. He plays the keyboards, the trumpet, the baritone horn, the accordion, and seemingly everything else. All the while he puts on the most entertaining side show I’ve ever seen at a concert. He dances, he walks up to his keyboard in slow motion, he swims through the air, he, he just does so much. Words can’t really describe it but maybe this will, he alone is worth the price of admission. Even if you bought a ticket to see Bob Schneider and hated it (which I will declare is pretty much impossible) you could just watch Ollie all night and you’ll get your money’s worth. He’s just that entertaining.
The title of this post comes from the incredible crowd participation song Tarantula which has an easy to sing chorus and which he has played every time I’ve seen him. It’s one of those songs that I can’t imagine he isn’t sick of but it’s so much fun to participate in that I hope he never stops playing it. Tarantula has become so ingrained among my friends that my friend Allison will even shout Tarantula out at non-Bob Schneider shows. It’s a lot more fun that shouting Free Bird as most people do.
Now as I said before I do wish the crowd would be a little more respectful of the slow songs. I know that the dance songs are fun but a show needs to have an ebb and flow to it some fast some slow and it’s really just rude to talk, and talk loudly, during the slow songs. Regardless of the talkative crowd the show was excellent. Bob Schneider is one of those performers who’s studio records don’t capture what he has to offer, and I feel that even the videos of liver performances online don’t really capture it either because you need to be in that crowd and feed off that energy to really understand it. I’m going to post videos anyway but for the real Bob experience you have to see him live. So go ahead and do that.
First up Batman (Which I think is actually called Beatomatic) which answers the age old question ‘What if Batman was a stoner’
And to close a nice acoustic version of 40 Dogs he played a rocking version of this song at the show but I prefer this iteration: