Review + Setlist: Bob Schneider at the Duck Room, June 9, 2009


Regular as, well, a meteor shower maybe, Bob Schneider and his band blew through St. Louis last night, staying just long enough to play a 10 p.m. show at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room.

And like Beatle Bob always says (more regularly than a meteor shower), he made it seem like a Saturday night. Which is dandy on a Tuesday when the beers are flowing and the music is loud, but on Wednesday morning not so much.

For the uninitiated, Bob Schneider is perhaps Austin's most popular rocker; he plays dozens of shows there each year, but he also hits the road for what must be nearly 200 concerts per annum. A prodigiously talented songwriter, he veers through musical genres like a fat man at a smorgasbord, a predilection that has earned him a solid diehard following over the past decade and a half but also one that has kept his name out of the mainstream.

At the Duck Room last night, Schneider only dipped sparingly into his most popular discs, Lonelyland and I'm Good Now, for "Gold in the Sunset," "Bullets" and "Big Blue Sea." Live-show requisites -- "Assknocker" ("a song that I'm only playing because I don't want to hear it requested"), "Tarantula," "Mudhouse" -- were present and accounted for. But while a new album remains (tantalizingly, predictably) overdue, the show was heavy on new and newish songs, including the radio-ready "40 Dogs & Cigarettes."

"40 Dogs," which made its appearance early in the set, may have been the night's most straightforward rendition. Straightforward, however, is not a word that should be associated with accordionist/horn player Ollie Steck, who wore a tux for the occasion and who, when not playing a musical instrument, chewed up his corner stage-right like a mime with a Percocet problem. The lineup was rounded out with Conrad Choucroun on drums, Harmoni Kelley on bass and a new guitarist, Billy Cassis*.

Highlights, in addition to "40 Dogs": "The Hulk," a superhero's confessional narrative; and a soft song whose title might or might not be "Every Day" that includes the couplet "I wanna roll around like a merry-go-round and when I fall I wanna land in Heaven/I wanna make a little baby with Elizabeth Taylor around 1957"

Also the unexpected "Lorena" (via request), a cutting ballad that appeared on an EP, like, ten years ago.

Here's a setlist. New (to me) stuff marked w/ a *; tentative (on my part) titles denoted by (?). And oh, yeah, that last song is indeed a hat tip to Biz Markie -- or maybe to the Heineken ad the song more recently spawned:

01 The Hulk (?)*
02 Gold in the Sunset
03 Supershit (?)*
04 40 Dogs & Cigarettes (Romeo & Juliet)
05 Bullets
06 Hand Me Back My Life (?)*
07 Assknocker
08 Hell Yeah
09 Every Day ( Further and Further Away) (?)*
10 Lorena
11 Cheaper
12 [band intros] Bombananza
13 Major or Minor (Bending the Note) (?)*
14 Big Blue Sea...
15 ...Boombox
16 (At the) Country Club
17 Tarantula
18 [encore] Slower Dear
19 Mudhouse
20 Just a Friend

Lineup: Bob (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Conrad Choucroun (drums), Harmoni Kelley (bass), Oliver "Ollie" Steck (accordion, keyboard, trumpet, baritone, pantomime), Billy Cassis* (guitar), Jay Thomas (steel drums on "Slower Dear").

If you were at the show and took pix, hit me at tom dot finkel at riverfronttimes dot com and I'll share 'em here.


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