Concert Review: Bishop Allen, September 4, Schubas


Here are some fun facts about Bishop Allen I learned throughout the night at their Schubas show on Thursday (turns out everyone at the show was a Bishop Allen SME and full of trivia):

1) The group is composed of Harvard Graduates

2) Their guitarist/ukulele player founded OkCupid

3) Joe Swanburg (director of Drinking Buddies) is a fan

I was sure fact 2 was made up but it checked out, and fact 3 was evident because he was at the show.

I had no idea what to expect from the band. After their five year hiatus I felt like they’d developed a sort of mystical aura around themselves – their scarcity had made them precious – it was like they were emerging from the Disney Vault. There are two bands I’d chop off a limb (to take a page out of the Wombats’ playbook) to see, but was sure would never tour again, and Bishop Allen was one of them.

A shamefully small crowd came out Thursday to appreciate this group of musical smarties, but you could tell they felt the same way – and what they lacked for in numbers they made up for in enthusiasm. Pulling heavily from the new album, the band went through “Good Talk,” “Bread Crumbs,” “No Show,” and “Crows” as well as oldies but goodies “Middle Management,” “Butterfly Nets,” and “Click, Click, Click, Click.” The start of each song was met with appreciative whoops from the crowd – every single song was somebody’s favorite. Along with a fantastic set list, the band also had some good stage banter going on. At one point lead singer Justin Rice told the crowd:

“Whenever I’m in a city like Chicago I want to be like “This song is about Chicago!” but that’s not true. This song is about Oklahoma.”

But my personal favorite was an impromptu joke from the guitarist:

“What do you call a Frenchman in sandals?

Philippe Flop.”

After five years of building expectations, Bishop Allen met every single one with their low key charm and obvious pleasure to be exactly where they were, doing exactly what they were doing. Well worth the wait.

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts

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