Barenaked Ladies

Music Reviews Barenaked Ladies
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Barenaked Ladies

While some of us still hold close to our hearts the dear memory of Barenaked Ladies as awkward Canadians with bad haircuts, beer guts and both funny and heartbreaking folk-y rock songs, the rest of the world was introduced to the band with the radio-shattering, white-boy-rapping stylings of “One Week” from 1998’s Stunt. And while the album went on to go multi-platinum, a new Barenaked era dawned. The guys started to lose the college look, got sharper clothes, and continued to put out concise, polished, layered little beauties of pop wonder.

With Barenaked Ladies Are Me, and the tour that has followed its 2006 release, the band has come even closer to realizing its full potential. Putting the album out on their own label – Desperation Records – and going green for the tour by teaming up with environmental non-profit, Reverb, show that, like their musical sensibilities, the guys in Barenaked Ladies have seriously grown up.

The setlist for this evening’s show echoed this well-rounded adult sound, while still looking back at a healthy, impressive back catalog. Playing selections from the vast majority of its albums, the band delved into the past for treats like “Just a Toy” (Born on a Pirate Ship) and “Great Provider” (Maybe You Should Drive), and served up classic fan favorites such as “The Old Apartment” and “Be My Yoko Ono” with energetic stage antics and brilliantly belted out, blended vocals.

Steven Page’s voice still packs a punch, and a certain “I’ve been to theater camp” trace led him through both classic tracks (“Brian Wilson”) and newer ones (“Sound of Your Voice”). Not to mention the heavenly “Call and Answer,” which, with its heart-tugging, restrained piano and low, crooning vocals knocked the audience over just that much more as the band wrapped up its set.

In typical Barenaked fashion, the substantial set was broken up with the random comical stylings of the band – mostly snappy banter or witty, improvised rapping between Page and (other lead vocalist) Ed Robertson. Name-dropping of Atlanta references like burger joint the Vortex, the “Land Of Coke” (as well as the “Land Of Crunk”) and jokes at the expense of K-Fed, Jessica Simpson and Donald Rumsfeld provided evidence enough that, though they may have grown up, these Ladies are still kids at heart.