— information leafblower

“Testing The Limits of Beer”

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So spoke our tour guide at the Sam Adams Brewery on Friday. He was talking about the special Brewmaster Blend of Stout pictured above, but he might as well have been talking about the weekend in Boston that Ms. Smith and I just had.
To be honest, we were just happy to get up there in the first place. We took the 9 a.m. flight out of Dulles so we arrived up North before the snow did. While we were waiting for our bags, we learned that the flights scheduled to arrive after us had all been canceled. And with good reason; it snowed from noon until after 10 p.m., leaving between 8 and 10 inches of snow on the ground. But we had no problems getting around town – if anything, it just made the city more picturesque.
I’ve been to Boston plenty, but this was easily my best trip yet. We had a great hotel – smack dab on the MIT campus -, a great neighborhood, great food and drink and no shortage of things to do. It all culminated with the Super Furry Animals show Saturday night, which was – for the record – my 30th (!!!!) Super Furry Animals gig. I too recoiled in horror after reading the previous sentence.
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The gig was great, a loose and informal affair in front of a sell-out audience. The Paradise is a great room, although it has a funny shape. It’s very wide, but not very deep. The sides of the club have risers and balconies, so the best view is generally from the sides of the stage. But the sound was superb, as was the vibe from the crowd.
A few hours before the gig, I got an email from David, a reader of the leafblower who wanted to buy me a pint at the gig. After doing so, I bought the next round and insisted he come backstage after the gig to meet the band. We made our way backstage as the last strains of “:Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy” faded into the night and I introduced him to everyone and we hung out well into the early morning, drinking beer and talking football and whatnot. The recent injury to Eduardo was a big point of conversation, as was the band’s Conan O’Brien taping today. We had two sides arguing for specific songs – myself and the crew on one side and the band on the other. Add in the 37 Stella’s I drank andyou can see where this is going.
Anyways, before I knew it, the driver started up the tour bus, which meant it was my time to head back to the hotel, officially ending my Super Furry road trip of 2008. I think this tour has been really good for the band. They stripped down their show to the bare essentials, letting their songs speak for themselves and from the feedback I’ve heard, the reception has been entirely positive. Another ilb reader, Joyce from NYC, emailed me this morning to say last night’s show in NYC was the best he’d seen the band do in over six years.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the “show” aspect of the last few tours, and I definitely missed the video of head-banging Ozzy during “Receptacle for the Respectable,” but I think this tour (and album) are a reboot of sorts for the band, and it’s done the trick. You don’t need Yeti costumes when you write perfect pop songs and this tour reminded everyone of that.
On the good news front, there is a possibility of another US tour towards the tail end of the year, which is both exciting and frustrating. Exciting because, hey, more shows! Frustrating because I will either be on my honeymoon or out of vacation days. :)
I’m not sure if the Conan taping will air tonight or another day, so check your local TV listings. Gruff said the band were supposed to do Conan at the start of the tour but they decided not to do it because of the strike. This will be the band’s second appearance on Conan, the first came back when the band was promoting Rings Around The World. Here’s the mp3:
[mp3] Super Furry Animals | (Drawing) Rings Around The World (live on Conan O’Brien)

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