Friday, February 05, 2016

Half Cleveland Live in Akron, OH

I don't make pilgrimages to hear bands anymore, but tonight, from the comfort of my own sweet bedroom in Fort Worth, Texas, Where the West Begins, I was able (through the wonder of the intarweb and Periscope, a streaming video app) to watch Half Cleveland, the current performing incarnation of ex-Tin Huey bandmates Chris Butler (also of Waitresses fame) and Harvey Gold. They've been doing this on an occasional basis for years, and when Chris moved back to Ohio from New Joisey last year, they resumed live activity in earnest. Tonight's gig, at Musica in Akron, was a benefit for a free clinic and will be streamable for a little less than 24 hours from now, right here.

Harvey had promised a special set, and these geezer hipsters delivered, with new songs -- Harvey's "From Your Side of the Room" and Chris' "Thief" -- along with a selection of surprise covers (opening with XTC's "Towers of London," segueing from the Hollies' "Pay You Back With Interest" into Syd's "See Emily Play," closing with a stage invasion/singalong "All the Young Dudes" chorus that hopefully made the Thin White Duke chuckle in whatever plane of existence he's now occupying).

In between, we were treated to Chris' "Physics" (which I'd listened to on HC's Live @ the Wi-fi Cafe while vibing up this arvo), and two songs from his masterwork Easy Life (title track and "My Hometown"), which I'd love to hear in its entahrty as a stage piece sometime. Chris is a great writer/storyteller, as he demonstrated with a reading of some of his prose in the middle of "I Lie the Truth" from his I Feel A Bit Normal Today.

I even got a shout-out at the beginning of Harvey's "Lazy Boy" (which hopefully wasn't the reason he had sampler pedal problems immediately after). "Starts with art and ends with pain" indeed. All in all, it was a gas watching these guys do their thing in real time (and then of course immediately watch it again). Thanks to the fellas and Harvey's wife, Dolli, who handled the tech stuff. Seriously, man -- my wife says c'mon down to Texas. We'll make y'all feel welcome. "Hey, you with the glasses...I want you in the front. NOW."


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