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 411mania » Music » Columns

Jam Central Station 9.14.13: Archive Album Review - Barenaked Ladies - Gordon
Posted by Jeff Modzelewski on 09.14.2013

Hey everyone. Hope you had a good weekend. I realized that the air conditioning on my car has gone from "not working well" to "not working at all" when the temperature hit 95 on Tuesday. Other than that, nothing much else going on. Decided to look back at an old favorite album this week. Hope you enjoy it!

There are some albums that I loved immediately after hearing them. Albums that grabbed me and never let go. Gordon by the Barenaked Ladies was not at all one of those albums. I was expecting, well honestly I don't know what I was expecting. But not an album with jazz, pop, blues, rock, and a healthy dose of both Canadian humor and melancholy. This CD spent a long time sitting in a pile of stuff that I didn't listen to until I busted it out one night when I was in an "experimental" mood. I finally started to understand what the band was doing with the album, and I was able to see the talent behind the music. The band has grown and changed significantly in the 20 years since this album came out, but Gordon still holds up as a great listen.

Despite the comedic elements, the album has quite a bit to say. "Hello City" starts the album out with a commentary on urban living at the time. The jazzy song surprisingly absolutely rips into city life at the time. The next few songs go into the past, with the bright and upbeat "Enid" reviewing the perils of middle-school romance, while "Grade 9" is a frantic song about the fear of starting high school. "Brian Wilson" brings things back to the present and is written in the same vein as "Hello City." "Be My Yoko Ono" is one of the band's best known songs, and another song about a relationship gone wrong. All of the early songs on this album use humor and cultural references to make a point about where they are in their life and where they've been. While I'm not sure that any of these songs are strictly autobiographical, the early portion of the album shows the band's ability to connect with the listener. Everyone can relate to these songs in some way, as growing up and learning to navigate relationships, friendships, and life are universal themes. Musically, the band goes through jazz, blues, and their own unique pop/rock sound early in the album.

The album finally takes a serious turn with "Wrap Your Arms Around Me." This song doesn't make it clear if this is a lament for a failed relationship or a song about the strength of a current love, but the ambiguity works very well. This is followed by another quiet song with "What A Good Boy." This is another song showing how the band can move very far from their comedic roots. The band moves back to upbeat and humorous themes for the next four tracks, however. "The King of Bedside Manor" revels in its absurdity, and "Box Set" tells the story of a washed up rock star from the rock star's point of view. The band brings back some jazz with the simple (and somewhat egotistical) "I Love You," and brings back some early 90's cultural references with "New Kid."

The closing four songs on the album is probably the strongest run. "Blame It On Me" is clever, silly, and full of love all at the same time. It's another song where the band shows how they were able to bring in light jazz influences into a rock album. "The Flag" is a beautifully done song about a dysfunctional relationship, and probably my favorite song on the album. It's raw and emotional, and showcases both the best of the band's writing ability and vocal harmonies. "If I Had $1,000,000" is on the opposite end of the spectrum, an absurd sing along that basically everyone knows. What people forget is how smart the song often is, with clever references throughout the song. "Crazy" closes the album, another song relying on vocal harmonies. It's not a great closer, but it's a good song to come down with after the witty and somewhat absurd "If I Had $1,000,000."

I'll be honest that I didn't know what I would think of this album when I decided to give it a review. I probably hadn't listened to it straight through in at least 5 years, although I still basically knew it note for note. Barenaked Ladies don't get the credit they deserve as musicians, and folks tend to focus on their sense of humor. On Gordon, however, both are present. I can't say that I like this album as much as I did 12 years ago, but I was glad for a chance to revisit it. If you haven't ever really given it a listen, go find it on Spotify or iTunes and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's well done, a lot of fun, and it still holds up pretty well.

STS9 confirm their NYE plans
STS9 will be heading to The Tabernacle in Atlanta for a 5-show New Years run. They'll be at the venue from December 27-31. You can purchase single-night tickets or a 5-night package.

Lotus to tour behind Monks
Lotus will be heading out on tour in support of their new album Monks. They added a handful of dates to their previously announced run and will be on the road through November. They also already have their NYE plans set in Philadelphia.

September 13 Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre
September 14 Kansas City, MO—Dancefestopia 2013
September 15 Columbia, MO—The Blue Note
September 18 Nashville, TN—Marathon Music Works
September 19 Athens, GA—Georgia Theatre
September 20 Athens GA—Georgia Theatre
September 21 Charlottesville, VA—Jefferson Theater
September 22 Charlottesville, VA—Jefferson Theater
October 25 Placerville, CA—Hangtown Halloween Ball
October 26 Placerville, CA—Hangtown Halloween Ball
October 27 Placerville, CA—Hangtown Halloween Ball
October 31 Morgantown, WV—Metropolitan Theater
November 1 Columbus, OH—Newport Music Hall
November 2 St. Louis, MO—The Pageant
November 3 Urbana, IL—The Canopy Club
November 5 Covington, KY—Madison Theater
November 7 Stroudsburg, PA—Sherman Theater
November 8 Syracuse, NY—The F SHED at the Market*
November 9 Washington, DC—9:30 Club
November 10 Washington, DC—9:30 Club
November 30 New York, NY—Terminal 5
December 30 Philadelphia, PA—Electric Factory
December 31 Philadelphia, PA—Electric Factory

Keller Williams announces tour
Keller Williams will (obviously) be touring in support of his forthcoming album Funk. The album will be released on November 12 and Keller will be touring with his current backing band "More Than A Little."

September 14 Woodstock, NY – Bearsville
September 19 Wichita, KS – Abode
September 20 Columbia, MO – Roots N Blues N BBQ*
September 21 Bristol, VA – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Festival
October 4 Memphis, TN – Newby's*
October 5 Chattanooga, TN – Three Sisters Festival+
October 6 Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewery*
October 10 Saratoga Springs, NY – Putnam Den^
October 11 New Haven, CT – Toad's Place^
October 12 Norfolk, CT – Infinity Hall^
October 18 Live Oak, FL – Magnolia Music Festival*
October 19 Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
October 24 Wilmington, DE – World Café Live at the Queen
November 1 Morgantown, WV – Metropolitan
November 2 Huntington, WV – V Club
November 7 Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room
November 8 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
November 9 San Diego, CA – Belly Up Tavern
November 14 Greenville, SC – The Handlebar
November 15 Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre#
November 16 Asheville, NC – Orange Peel#
December 11-15 – Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – Strings & Sol*
December 27 Milvale, PA—Smalls Theatre #
December 28 Cleveland, OH—Beachland Ballroom & Tavern #
December 31 Baltimore, MD—Ram's Head Live ~
January 4-9 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Jam Cruise$
(%) w/ Leftover Salmon
(*) w/ The Travelin' McCourys
(+) w/ The Keels
(#) w/ More Than a Little
(^) w/ special guests Floodwood
($) Keller solo and Keller & The Kimocks
(~) NYE with More Than A Little and The Keels
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe add to tour
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe have dates lined up through mid November as well as their New Years plans in Chicago. They'll be on the road through much of the fall.

September 15 Telluride, CO – Sheridan Opera House
September 15 Telluride, CO – Blues & Brews
September 17 Syracuse, NY – The Westcott Theater *
September 18 Fairfield, CT – Stage One *
September 19 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair ^
September 20 Philadelphia, PA – The Blockley ^
September 21 Williamsburg Park – Brooklyn, NY *^ *FREE
September 22 Providence, RI – Fete *
September 24 Richmond, VA – Canal Club *
September 25 Washington, DC – The Hamilton *
September 26 Baltimore, MD – 8X10 *
September 28 Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls *
October 11 Corolla, NC – Mustang Music Festival
October 12 Joshua Tree, CA – Joshua Tree Music Festival
October 14 Bellingham, WA – The Wild Buffalo ^^
October 15 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile ^^
October 16 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater ^^
October 17 Eugene, OR – WOW Hall ^^
October 18 Arcata, CA – Arcata Theater ^^
October 19 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore ^^
October 20 Sacramento, CA – Harlow's ^^
October 22 Santa Cruz, CA – Moe's Alley ^^
October 23 Santa Barbara, CA – SOHO ^^
October 24 Los Angeles, CA – The El Rey Theatre ^^
October 25 & 26 San Diego, CA – Belly Up Tavern ^^
October 31 Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium ^^
November 5 Birmingham, AL – WorkPlay ^^
November 6 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West ^^
November 7 Charlotte, NC – Fillmore Auditorium **
November 8 & 9 Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel ^^
November 10 Chattanooga, TN – Track 29 ^^
November 12 Nashville, TN – Exit/In ^^
November 13 Athens, GA – Georgia Theater ^^
November 14 Charleston, SC – The Pour House ^^
November 15 & 16 Live Oak, FL - Bear Creek Music Festival
December 31 Chicago, IL – Park West +
(*) w/ The Mike Dillon Band
(^) w/ Soul Rebels
(**) w/ Galactic
(^^) Soul Spectacular: Ray Charles Boogaloo Dance Party w/ Zach Deputy & The Cosmic Horns
(+) with Robert Walter's 20th Congress
Members of SCI, ALO, TAB announce supergroup
Members of the String Cheese Incident, ALO, and the Trey Anastasio Band have announced a new supergroup called Incidental Animals. The group will feature Kyle Hollingsworth, Dan Lebowitz, Steve Adams, Dave Brogan, and Jen Hartswick. They have three gigs booked in November at the moment. No word on any recording coming from these guys.

November 20 West Chester, PA—The Note
November 21 Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Bowl (with Natalie Cressman)
November 22 Baltimore, MD—Soundstage

Werk Out Festival
September 12-14, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: The Werks, Papadosio, GRiZ, EOTO, Conspirator, Minnesota, ekoostik hookah, John Brown's Body, Cosby Sweater, and many others.

Farm Aid
September 21, 2013
Saratoga performing Arts Cetner
Saratoga Springs, NY
Performers include: Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews

City Bisco
September 27-28, 2013
The Mann Center
Philadelphia PA
Performers include: The Disco Biscuits, big Boi, Method Man & Redman, Shpongle, Emancipator, and many others.

September 27-29
Bouckaert Farm
Chattahoochee Hills, GA

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 4-6, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident, Bonnie Raitt, G. Love & Special Sauce, Trampled by Turtles, Devil Makes Three, Gogol Bordello, Steve Martin & Steep Canyon Rangers, and many others.

Austin City Limits
October 4-6, 2013
October 11-13, 2013

The Festy Experience
October 10-13, 2013
Devil's Backbone Brewing Company
Charlottesville, VA
Performers include: The Infamous Stringdusters, jj Grey & Mofro, John Scofield Uberjam, Marco Benevento, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and many others

Harvest Festival
October 17-19, 2013
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Railroad Earth, Beats Antique, JJ Grey & MOFRO, Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum with Allie Kral, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Hangtown Halloween Ball
October 25-27, 2013
Placerville, CA
Railroad Earth will host the event and perform three shows. Other performers include: Matisyahu, Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Lotus, Greensky Bluegrass, Elephant Revival, Marco Benevento, and many others.

October 31-November 2, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: 3 nights of String Cheese Incident, STS9, Big Gigantic, Emancipator, Conspirator, Steve Kimock & Friends, Future Rock, and many others.

Robello Cruise
November 1-5, 2013
Sailing out of Miami, FL
Performers include: Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love & Special Sauce, State Radio, Rebelution, Trevor Hall, and many others

Bear Creek Music Festival
November 14-17, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Lettuce, The New Mastersounds, Zach Deputy, Toubab Krewe, The Motet, Break Science, and many others.

Strings & Sol
December 11-15, 2013
Puerto Morales, Mexico
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Keller & The McCoury's, and Greensky Bluegrass

Mayan Holidaze
December 16-20, 2013
Puerto Morales, Mexico
The event will feature three shows each from Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and STS9, and will also feature Big Gigantic, Papadosio, Cherub, Orchard Lounge, and DrFameus.

Jam Cruise
January 4-9, 2014
Miami, FL
Performers include: Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Keller Williams, Galactic, and many others.

One Big Holiday
January 26-30, 2014
Riviera Maya, Mexico
My Morning Jacket will be performing 4 nights at this event.

Jam in the Sand
February 28-March 4, 2014
Negril, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra will host the event. Other performers to be announced.

Panic en la Playa tres
March 17-21, 2014
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Widespread Panic will perform four shows during the event.

Suwannee Springfest
March 20-23, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Southern Soul Assembly, Donna the Buffalo, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others

June 12-15, 2014
Manchester, TN

Thanks again for stopping by. I'll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!


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