July 18, 2013

Barenaked Ladies play Bangor

Their infectious live shows and witty lyrics – in everything from 'One Week' to the theme for TV's 'Big Bang Theory' – make Sunday's Barenaked concert a must.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Tyler Stewart likes playing Maine, a state he says forms a crucial component of the so-called "Barenaked Ladies Belt."

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

From left: Jim Creeggan, Tyler Stewart, Ed Robertson and Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies. They play Sunday in Bangor.

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BARENAKED LADIES, BEN FOLDS FIVE AND GUSTER

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sunday; 5:30 p.m. gates open

WHERE: Darling's Waterfront Pavilion, 1 Railroad St., Bangor

HOW MUCH: $30.75 to $84.75

INFO: Waterfrontconcerts.com

"It just seems like the areas around Boston, and into Maine and New Hampshire, have always been amazing for us, sort of a Barenaked Ladies Belt, if you will," said Stewart, 45, drummer for the band. "When we started out of Toronto 25 years ago, we got down there a lot. I think areas with a lot of colleges have always been good for us."

Stewart has been to Maine so often, he can name his favorite spots to dine or visit without much hesitation.

"We've had some great meals at Walter's (in Portland) and I really liked staying at the Eastland (also in Portland), such a great old hotel right in the downtown," said Stewart.

On the band's current tour, they're skipping Portland in favor of the wide open spaces of Darling's Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor. They'll play there Sunday along with Ben Folds Five and Guster.

Having Guster along adds a little extra local interest, since Guster member Adam Gardner lives in Portland and is active in the community, often giving advice to local musicians. Gardner's wife is from Wells, and the couple settled in Maine about eight years ago.

"We now have two kids and I constantly remind them of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place," said Gardner, 40.

Stewart said he and the Barenaked Ladies guys have known the Guster guys for nearly 20 years, as they share some of the same fans and play the same festivals.

And they like to kid them a bit.

"Well, Adam is the good-looking one in Guster, so we remind him and the others of that. We have some fun with that," said Stewart.

Though it sounds weird to hear Stewart talk about Barenaked Ladies starting up 25 years ago, the Canadian band's biggest hits did indeed come in the mid- and late 1990s, including: "One Week," "The Old Apartment," "Pinch Me," and "Brian Wilson." They also recorded the theme for the long-running CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," which debuted in 2007.

Barenaked Ladies released their eleventh album -- "Grinning Streak" -- in June, and it debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard album chart. The single "Boomerang" is catchy and melodic, like a lot of the band's past hits, but a little more straight-forward than some.

"But I come on back, 'cause I know/That though you meant to let me go/I could always be your boomerang."

Back in the band's heyday in the 1990s, people used to bring boxes of macaroni and cheese to Barenaked Ladies' shows because of a lyric in the tune "If I Had $1,000,000." People would lovingly toss the boxes onto the stage.

So far, thankfully, no one has done that with "Boomerang," Stewart says.

The band has been so busy with recording and touring, Stewart said, that they have decided to forgo creating a musical stage adaptation of the 1978 comedy film "Animal House." They had announced plans for it last year, but this year decided they didn't have the time.

Stewart said the band wrote 12 to 15 songs for the project, which will now probably show up in future albums.

Though the band's been together some 25 years, and has gone through personnel changes -- most notably, the very public departure of prominent singer Steven Page in 2009 -- some things about Barenaked Ladies do not change, Stewart said.

First, the band members are very proud to be a pop band, and don't really try to be anything else.

"Yes, we are pop and unabashedly. We are proud to write melodic songs people can sing along to," said Stewart.

And the band members will always try to keep their sense of humor.

"If people come see us, they can expect singing and dancing and cartwheels. We take great pride in our live shows," Stewart said.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

 

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