Concert Review: Pere Ubu, September 18, Lee’s Palace

pere ubu

“All of you have been asleep for the past 35 or 40 years and dreaming,” said Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas at the beginning of their set. “I’ve been awake all that time. So I’m here to tell you what really happened.” He then went on to tell an alternate history of Pere Ubu’s rise to success and what the members had gotten up to in the meantime. This is standard practice with Thomas. The man is a born raconteur who has a way of drawing the audience in. Even if he weren’t the frontman for the experimental “avant garage” rock band, I would be satisfied to watch an hour of this man doing stand up comedy.

Further highlights of Thomas’ hilarious stage banter included him telling the audience, “we’re not friends” and taking shots at Sting and “St. Bono” to introduce “Musicians Are Scum,” numerous references to ghost towns throughout the evening, and a dedication of a song to “the ladies,” a trick Thomas claimed to learn while on a festival tour with Kool And The Gang. I presumed that this was a tall tale of sorts, but upon further research, it appears that Pere Ubu did in fact play some European dates with Kool as well as The Gang, hitting Copenhagen as well as other locales. “The Danes, they are not like you and me.” said Thomas. This is true, they’re obviously better. Why can’t we get a tour like this? The closest we get is Van Halen with Kool And The Gang, which, granted, is still pretty weird, but not weird enough for my tastes.

Alternating between sips Diet Coke and wine (sometimes swigged straight out of the bottle), Thomas led the band though a number of songs off their latest, The Lady From Shanghai. The aforementioned wine had been poured onstage earlier in the night by a guy wearing a chicken head during opener Gagarin‘s set, which in a way, was sort of a Pere Ubu set. Gagarin, also a member of Pere Ubu, was not in attendance on this night, even though he was the opener. In fact, he was not even in the country, as there was some issue with getting him a visa. This did not deter him from filling the opening slot while collaborating with Thomas and other members of the band through a video hookup while still in the UK. A truly unique and entertaining performance.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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