Not the one-hit-wonder that detractors mistakenly assume them to be, Barenaked Ladies have found a devoted live audience, including a strong Detroit-area following. Talk to the Hand is a marvelous example of why they've been able to keep those fans satisfied for more than a decade.
This set is far from being their first foray into the realm of live albums. Their 1996 release, Rock Spectacle, focused on their first few records, and their 2004 tour offered fans a chance to order individual shows via their Web site. But Talk to the Hand is the group's first full-length live CD/DVD combo. Recorded and filmed this past June at Clarkston's DTE Energy Music Theatre (or Pine Knob, as everyone in Michigan still calls it), both discs offer ample proof of the band's continuing appeal.
The set captures the guys reeling off a run of their best-known tunes, including "Brian Wilson," "If I Had a $1,000,000," "Be My Yoko Ono," and "The Old Apartment," the latter arguably the funniest and most unsettling song ever written about an obsessive lover's broken relationship. More recent tracks like "Too Little Too Late" and "Pinch Me" are also well served.
If you're not afraid to have a little fun in your musical diet, you just might find that the Barenaked Ladies are the cure to a music scene that long ago crawled up its own ass. If not, then feel free to wallow in your own misery as much as you like. Me, I'll take the clever goofiness of this band any day of the year.
Mike Villano writes about music for Metro Times. Send commentst to firstname.lastname@example.org.