Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY 3/4/10

This will be the third time I’ve written this. My computer has some sort of power issue where the battery is becoming unseated. This is scary and I’m buying a roll of duct tape.


  • Skybox played first and they were incredible – highly energetic, lots of newer dancey things (and newer shoegazey things), a lot better than I anticipated (I only previously knew just two of their songs).
  • Jukebox the Ghost played next and were also incredible – every 16 year old girl in the venue was there for them, because all three of them are adorable. The drummer tossed sticks away mid-song to pick up tambourines and shakers (and later replacement sticks) and it was impressive. They also brought out a (barely audible) trumpet player named Tim who easily got the biggest applause of the night.


  • No more fake moustaches for soundcheck and setup, just street clothes and their actual face-beards. A bunch of people called out for Ross, but I can’t really blame them. A bunch of people were audibly distressed that there was no Joe, but I can’t really blame them. One person told Zubin to shave, and that is inexcusable.
  • Tally Hall opened with Out In The Twilight, a real song by Tally Hall. It’s a great little Rob pop-rock jumpy thing, with Andrew on vocoder.
  • Joe was indeed out (as he will be for the whole tour), and a black-tied man named Casey filled in for him (I think the black tie means JOE IS DEAD) – no one could ever replace Joe, but Casey did a fine job emulating him: he nailed the megaphone verse in Ruler Of Everything (which pleased the hard-to-impress Zubin), but screwed up a line in Good Day (which was hilarious, and Zubin scorned him).
  • The Gap is now The Trap, but still a slow acoustic guitar and synthesizer song – the lyrics have developed nicely, but the melody is less symmetrical and the extended synth outro now has words. I’m only saying tihs because I LOVE The Gap, and to see it differently at all eats at a part of me, but this was a good extrapolation of the original and I think I can live with/enjoy it.
  • Misery Fell was pretty hilarious: the crowd started clapping with the kick drum and bass intro, but Zubin told us that this particular song calls for quiet clapping – clapping to ourselves. He still wanted us to actively clap to ourselves, though, and we obliged, but Rob noted that he didn’t know what that means and he’s in the band. Furthermore, Andrew emitted a falsetto flourish during the second verse that I saw come out of him and I still can’t believe happened – it was hilarious and unexpected.
  • There was one other new song, quietly sung by Andrew, with Ross on Hi-Hat And Hi-Hat Alone and Zubin on glockenspiel. It had a little “ooh-oo-ooh” motif, but I don’t recall any lyrics.
  • Minor alterations to songs: Cannibal has been toned down, with the Joe figure on acoustic guitar; the verses in Misery Fell were mostly just sung by Zubin, and the chorus had some slightly different chords (more major-y, and I liked them); Rob on sleigh bells in Good Day (“Merry Christmas!”) You and Me is actually sung by Rob now.
  • Rob announced that Never Meant To Know would be their last song, and when the crowd cried, Zubin told us to relax, because they had planned more- indeed, after they left, a recording of a harpsichord rendition of A Lady played, with Rob’s English-accent narrator voice informing us that Tally Hall will be playing a set on the floor, and that we were to sit down. Vested assistants came around to hand out “souveneir butt protectors” (I’ll scan mine once the library opens), but Rob reminded us that our true butt protectors are our hearts.
  • Semi-acoustic (keyboard, [quiet] electric bass, some almost-electric guitar) set! Rob and Zubin led us in snapping our fingers, and Casey started singing The Bidding. Oh man, it was so great. The second Joe verse had two trumpets played from the back of the venue, surprising everyone on the floor (as opposed to the top level – so most of us) – I don’t remember the trumpeters names (sorry!) but I don’t think either was Tim. Taken For A Ride also had horns and everyone in the room singing during the final secondary smile.
  • There was a new Rob song played acoustically too – a quiet, slow and building thing with keyboard accordion. Ross played a harmonica – actually, Ross owned that song: by the end, he had discarded his brushes for a maraca and a single drumstick, with which he worked wonders. It was beautiful.
  • The Whole World And You featured Casey on kazoo and Rob on ukulele, but no searing kazoo solo like the last (first) Tally Hall show I’d attended. I don’t think I’d noticed how brilliant the line “please don’t just laugh and clap right now, this is serious” is until I was laughing and clapping while singing it.
  • The show ended with most of the band (and the invited-up drummer and keyboardist from Jukebox The Ghost) playing tambourines and singing Simon and Garfunkel’s Cecelia with EVERYONE IN THE ROOM – well, except me, because I didn’t know it (I had actually chatted on the bus over to a Pepsico employee who berated me for being young and inable to name a James Taylor song) – but it was still a great end.

SETLIST: (from memory – probably out of order and incomplete)

Out In The Twilight
Ruler Of Everything
You And Me
Good Day
The Trap(!)
Misery Fell
(mystery Andrew song)
Never Meant To Know

The Bidding
Taken For A Ride
(mystery Rob song)
The Whole World And You


  • Multiple times throughout the show (most often during Skybox’s set), a man shouting “REMARKABLE” came up to the stage and loudly professed his adoration for the band of the hour and asked for four bars over which to freestyle – no cursing, two chords. Each band bantered with him, and we learned that his name is Bobby, but his homies call him Remarkable Butter. The bassist from Skybox noted that “butter IS remarkable.”
  • I went alone, and considered befriending other solitary patrons, but quickly discarded the idea. A girl came up to me and engaged me in conversation during the momentary lull after Skybox, and I politely humored her and then started wishing/pretending she was not there. MORAL: I am a social hypocrite. HOWEVER, I thanked a tall reddish-haired Tally Hall fan for filming Twilight and The Trap; I told him about HITS and he assured me this would not be his first post and that videos will be on Youtube the day after. I didn’t get his name, and I don’t think I told him mine (in case you went to this show, reader, I was wearing a yellow shirt and singing loudly, but I tried to shut up and keep still while this guy was filming).
  • This is the best show I have ever seen (not quite the best night ever, though – I saw Andrew WK play [with actual people I actually know] for free inside America’s oldest art museum two weeks ago, with the PA set up in front of four Picassos).
  • After my battery fell out the second time, I got kind of pissed off and started doing other things before deciding I should write this down so I don’t forget. I found this, though, which I understand is pretty accurate:

    The elephant (a trunky leathery leviathan), the manatee (a decidedly aquatic lump that wanders into danger), and the hyrax (a little furry guy) are each others’ closest living relatives! That’s crazy! I can’t even begin to imagine what the hell they evolved from!

  • I understand that Michael Gregory went to this show. I didn’t look very hard, but I saw someone who vaguely resembled him filming the acoustic set with a flip camera. He left before I could ask him if he had to buy his kids a piece of bread.

3 thoughts on “Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY 3/4/10

  • March 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Tally Hall always puts on a great show! I caught them ~4 years ago when they played at the Bitter End, and it’s been great to see them play at bigger venues each tour. I love how they work a surprise into each show. This time it was an unplugged version of “Cecilia,” my favorite Simon & Garfunkel tune; last time, at Union Hall, they closed on an amazing version of “Free Bird” that rivaled Skynyrd’s version.

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