Commemorating the 25th anniversary of their 1994 album, Rubberneck, Toadies toured their home state of Texas in December 2021 and traveled to other states this month. Joining them on this tour are another band from north Texas, Reverend Horton Heat, came on stage at Irving Plaza in New York, NY at 8:50PM. The band consists of drummer Jonathan Jeter, bassist Jimbo Wallace, and Jim Heath, a.k.a. Reverend Horton Heat, and they are celebrating Liquor in the Front which was released the same year as Toadies’ Rubberneck and was produced by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen.
Heath informed the audience that some of the songs from Liquor like “Yeah Right,” they haven’t performed in a really long time. Before “Liquor, Beer, and Wine,” was played, the Reverend told a story about Al being a fan of country music and mixing that song for a long time. Once the record was finished with all 13 tracks being performed in order, RHH performed songs from their earlier releases to complete their set, such as “400 Bucks,” “Psychobilly Freakout,” “Galaxy 500,” plus a cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.” Heath noted that Sub Pop re-released their first three albums on vinyl before they launched into the fiery “400 Bucks.”
Toadies at Irving Plaza
Toadies took the stage about 10:15 PM, with singer/guitarist Todd Lewis noting that they would perform some non-Rubberneck songs first, and then diving into that album later. The fourth song of their set, “Closer To You,” was brand new. Lewis asked the crowd if we were ready for Rubberneck before the band launched into “Mexican Hairless,” which immediately sounded louder to me than everything they played before it, and I was wearing earplugs and standing in the back of the room. During the second song from that album, “Mister Love,” the audience sang along very loudly with Lewis, which continued for the rest of the record. For “I Come From the Water,” Lewis gestured to the audience during the chorus and let everyone sing those five words multiple times solo, before he sang another verse.
Singing along to a song like “Velvet” with opening lyrics of “you hurt me, you fuck” loudly with other people in my early 40s felt as great as it did alone in my bedroom as a teenager. The album closed with Todd performing “I Burn” on acoustic guitar and the band expanded to seven members from the original four (two people were added for percussion and another guitarist). The band had rolling papers available at the merch table named after this song. After “I Burn” was over, the set ended with the band returning just shy of 11:15PM for an encore. Lewis declared “I’m having a fucking blast, how about you?” and thanking the openers of Nashville Pussy and Reverend Horton Heat, plus the audience for keeping live music alive before performing another new song he described as a love song called “Long Time.” The final song of the night was a cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You.”
Before Sunday’s Irving Plaza concert, I saw the Toadies in 2014 for the 20th anniversary of Rubberneck and if they continue to celebrate the anniversary of a record I fell in love as a teenage girl, I’ll do everything I can to be a member of the audience singing along loudly again with others for the 30th anniversary that will hopefully happen in 2024.
Scroll down for setlists, fan shot videos and pics of the show (photos by Edwina Hay)
Reverend Horton Heat setlist: Liquor in the Front- Big Sky, Baddest of the Bad, One Time for Me, Five-O Ford, In Your Wildest Dreams, Yeah Right, Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’, I Could Get Used to It, Liquor Beer & Wine, I Can’t Surf, Rockin’ Dog || 400 Bucks, Psychobilly Freakout, Galaxy 500, Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)
Toadies setlist: Little Sin, Polly Jean, Push/Hand, Closer To You (new song), Song I Hate || Rubberneck Mexican Hairless, Mister Love, Backslider, Possum Kingdom, Quitter, Away, I Come From the Water, Tyler, Happyface, Velvet, I Burn || Encore: Long Time (new song), No Deliverance, The Charmer, Rattler’s Revival, I Put A Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover)
In January 2020, KMFDM announced they were heading on tour in the U.S. with Ministry and Front Line Assembly. My husband and I planned on attending their performance in Philadelphia scheduled to take place in July and possibly stay with a friend over that weekend. The tour ended up being postponed due to a pandemic where large gatherings were banned for a majority of that year. 2021 would find Ministry rescheduling their anniversary tour to finally take place, but KMFDM and Front Line Assembly were no longer on the bill. In 2022, KMFDM scheduled their return to the United States, instead this time they were the headlining act and selected Austin, TX’s Chant for this journey.
The German industrial metal band came to New York City on Saturday, October 15th for a performance at Irving Plaza (they also scheduled a date in Long Island two nights before this one) in support of their newest album, Hyëna, which was released in September 2022. Their previous record, Paradise, came out in September 2019 so this tour promoted that release too. Since my first KMFDM show was delayed by two years, I found myself very excited to finally see them perform at Irving.
Opening the show was Austin, TX’s Chant, the project of musician Bradley Bills. Bills, and a guitarist who occasionally played percussion with him, had an elaborate stage set up for just two people. Bills seemed to be surrounded by drums with a keyboard stationed behind that. Chant’s first song featured Bills playing keys and then he would move between a standing drum kit setup while a standard one was next to it, on a single song. I was extremely impressed by Bills’ ability to seamlessly switch from the standard kit and move over to the standing one, which had a microphone for him to sing into. Chant’s newest album is called Hydra and came out in late 2020. The band included songs from this record plus older material such as “Revolt” in their set.
Taking the stage about 9:15PM, the four members of KMFDM (guitarist Andee Blacksugar, drummer Andy Selway, Lucia Cifarelli, and founding member Sascha Konietzko)greeted the audience and immediately launched into “D.I.Y.” from their 1999 album Adios. The band’s set list consisted of songs both old and new throughout their nearly four decade run. During one portion of the set, the band brought out Andrew “Ocelot” Lindsley to perform his verses on “Rock ‘N’ Roll Monster” off Hyëna and “K.M.F.” from Paradise. Their most well-known song, “A Drug Against War,” from their 1993 record, Angst, came half-way in the set with newer material such as “Bumaye,” “Liquor Fish & Cigarettes,” and “Blindface” helping bring their energetic performance to an end. The band returned to the stage for an encore, prompting Lucia asking the audience if we wanted some more. When we quickly responded affirmatively, KMFDM began a three song encore of “Megalomaniac,” “Godlike,” and “Paradise,” returning us to the streets of New York City before 11PM.
Scroll down for setlist, fan shot videos and pics of the show (photos by Edwina Hay)
Setlist: D.I.Y., All 4 1, Light, Rebels In Kontrol, Hyëna, Amnesia, Rock’n’Roll Monster, K.M.F., Black Hole, A Drug Against War, Bumaye, Son of a Gun, Oh My Goth, Liquor Fish & Cigarettes, Blindface, Hay Rock Encore: Megalomaniac, Godlike, Paradise
Pet Shop Boys and New Order began their co-headline tour called “The Unity Tour” in North America on Saturday, September 17th in Toronto, Canada. Their tour was originally scheduled to begin on September 5, 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two UK acts initially announced a single NYC date at Madison Square Garden, but another concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn was added to their itinerary for Friday, September 23rd, with the MSG performance happening the following week on Wednesday, September 28th. The Barclays show would have Pet Shop Boys going on first, while New Order would switch to the first set at the next show.
The evening began right at 7pm with a set by superstar record producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold, who would return before New Order’s performance. Oakenfold spent the evening playing familiar songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s such as Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”, Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart,” Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” and a remix of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics to entertain audience members before New Order and Pet Shop Boys began their sets.
The duo known as Pet Shop Boys, singer Neil Tennant, and keyboardist Chris Lowe, arrived on stage thirty minutes after Oakenfold first started spinning. The duo began with an introduction and immediately launched into “Suburbia” from their 1986 album, Please. Singer Neil Tennant promised the audience that we would go on a musical journey before they performed “Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You),” “Rent,” and their cover of “Always on My Mind,” which happened to be the second time I heard that song performed live in a week as Willie Nelson played it on Tuesday, September 20th at Central Park SummerStage too. During “West End Boys,” Tennant changed a lyric slightly (“to the Finland station” became “to the Kiev Station”) and he shared that the song was recorded in New York City nearly forty years ago. “Being Boring,” a track from their 1990 album, Behaviour, closed their set before Oakenfold returned to DJ some more while the stage was prepared for New Order.
Pet Shop Boys at Barclays Center
New Order promptly began their set at 9:30pm with visuals from New York City from the past and present projected on the screens and playing “Regret” from their 1993 record, Republic. Fans were treated to older material such as “Age of Consent,” “Ceremony,” “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and of course, “Blue Monday.” In addition to the New Order classics, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham, and Tom Chapman performed two Joy Division songs, “Transmission,” towards the beginning of the set while “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” was their one song encore before we all filed out of the arena.
New Order at Barclays Center
I attended the Barclays show with my husband, who is the biggest Pet Shop Boys fan I know; he saw them live before we began dating and has a section in his record collection of their albums and singles on vinyl. He described the PSB set as being full of “bangers” and I would have to strongly agree. Both PSB and New Order performed the songs I really wanted to hear live and after two years of waiting for this concert to take place, it was everything I had hoped for from these two legendary acts in a single night.
Scroll down for setlists, fan shot videos and pics of the show (photos by Edwina Hay)
Pet Shop Boys setlist: Intro, Suburbia, Can You Forgive Her?, Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money), Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You), Rent, Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give it Anymore, So Hard, Left to My Own Devices, Domino Dancing, Love Comes Quickly, Losing My Mind (Steven Sondheim Cover), You Were Always On My Mind (Gwen McRae cover), Dreamland, Heart, It’s Alright (Sterling Void cover), Vocal, It’s a Sin Encore: West End Girls, Being Boring
New Order setlist: Regret, Age of Consent, Ceremony, Transmission (Joy Division), Your Silent Face, The Perfect Kiss, Tutti Frutti, Guilt Is A Useless Emotion, Bizarre Love Triangle, Plastic, True Faith, Blue Monday, Temptation Encore: Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
One of the final acts I saw in 2020 before large gatherings were banned in New York to help stop the spread of COVID-19 was Bartees Strange. He took the stage at The Sultan Room just before the headliner, Fusilier, and performed the day before his EP, Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy was released. Fast forward to over a year later, his debut album, Live Forever, is over a year old, he’s toured with Phoebe Bridgers, did a Tiny Desk performance for NPR, performed at festivals, and is now headlining shows of his own.
Strange booked two consecutive concerts at Mercury Lounge that were a part of Governors Ball After Dark, and both sold out. The first one occurred at 7PM on Thursday, September 23rd, while the second show began immediately after the first. The weather forecast predicted rain beginning in the evening and I’m grateful that I showed up to Mercury before it started pouring.
The duo known as Bathe (Corey Smith-West and Devin Hobdy) took the stage at 6:40PM, performing a set of their R&B songs and included a cover of Jai Paul’s “All Night (Unfinished),” a song they shared that inspired them to start the group. We were also treated to songs from their upcoming sophomore album called Bicoastal such as “Bolero,” which was dedicated to their parents, and two singles, “Sundress” and “Pull Up.” Those who had tickets to the second Bartees Strange performance of the night had an opening set from Hannah Jadagu.
Bartees Strange at Mercury Lounge
Bartees Strange’s first set began at 7:30 and he seemed to be elated throughout the performance. His set began with a song from Live Forever (“In a Cab”) and then spent the next hour playing songs both old and new, including a track that premiered earlier in the day, “Weights.” During “Flagey God,” the crowd loudly sang along with the chorus for Strange to happily declare, “y’all are sick!” after the song ended. After a two song encore, the concert ended and the venue had to clear the crowd to get the space ready for the second show.
Bartees Strange’s next performance in NYC will take place at 2:15PM at Governors Ball at CitiField in Queens on Friday, September 23rd, followed by his return to Brooklyn in late October to open for Lucy Dacus at Brooklyn Steel. It won’t be much longer for him to headline that same stage too.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Edwina Hay)