Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Ditty Bops 4/26/09 - McCabe's Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, CA. (9:00 PM show)

(Photo by Eric Meacham)

The Ditty Bops have made a significant impact on my recording career - these are the musicians I've seen and recorded the most in all the years I've been doing this. I've seen them in many different venues and play many different types of shows all this time. It was the first time I had seen them in awhile (June 2008), so I was definitely curious to see what they'd been up to.

However, before that, a bit of background. I first heard of The Ditty Bops in 2004, when they were opening for The Dresden Dolls on their current tour at the time. I checked out their website beforehand, and after asking whether they were worth seeing/recording (a fellow taper had sung their praises so to speak), I decided since I was going to be there for the Dolls anyway, why not run "tape." I've been hooked ever since, having seen them almost forty times in the past 4 1/2 years.

Having never seen just Amanda and Abby do a full acoustic show (well, I think the closest was this Santa Barbara show from 2006 - I apologize for the poor sound quality, it was unplugged, outdoors, and windy), this evening's performances (there was an early show that will be posted in the future) seemed like a great opportunity. Well - okay, the show was good. However, during and after the night was over, some nagging issues came to light.

The show(s) were touted a release party for their latest album, the "Songs For Steve" EP, a tribute to their fallen friend Steve. Recorded in their living room, it featured a very mellow vibe, and upon listening have had mixed feelings about it. Conceding to the night's theme, the setlist featured songs from the new release, along with the a number of new tunes that may be featured on an upcoming full-length. With the unrecorded tunes, I had the same sort of mixed impression - their past music has had a sort of quirkiness to it, and it seems they are moving away from that, and more towards a James Taylor or current Norah Jones sort of feel (who's last album I felt very ambivalent about as well) Another telling factor was that only one song from the pre-"Summer Rains" era was featured on the setlist - "Growing Upside Down," from "Moon Over The Freeway." However, owing to the amount of time they've spent covering The Boswell Sisters in past shows, another different tune of the group's showed up - "Shout, Sister, Shout"

A part of me can't help but wonder if this type of show wouldn't have worked better a few years ago, in the era of the "self-titled" and "Moon Over The Freeway" albums - the reasoning being that it doesn't seem (with what information available) that the songs from those albums were played much acoustically. The Ditty Bops have always wavered a fine line between mellow and exuberant, but this show definitely veered heavily toward the "mellow" side (either that, or I was really tired from being in Palm Springs all day the day before)

Regardless, this recording (and the yet-posted one from earlier in the evening) both came out very well, the best I've pulled from McCabe's so far. There was heavy applause between songs, which I've tried to tame as best as I can.

Another note, the titles for the "newest" songs are not official - because I was not able to get a setlist, I just made my best guess at what they may be called. If I hear anything different, they will be updated.

For more recordings of The Ditty Bops, go here

To download, right click and save as.

1.)When's She Comin' Home FLAC MP3
2.)Ain't No Good FLAC MP3
3.)Somebody's Gone FLAC MP3
4.)Seventh Ray FLAC MP3
5.)The Pretty Girl Got Away (tentative title) FLAC MP3
6.)Indigo Eyes (tentative title) FLAC MP3
7.)Take My Hand Monchichi FLAC MP3
8.)Because We Do FLAC MP3
9.)King Of The Sea FLAC MP3
10.)Dancing In The Moon FLAC MP3
11.)Heaven Isn't For The Angels FLAC MP3
12.)Sugar and Spice FLAC MP3
13.)"Amanda's Ugly Art Auction" (auction/skit) FLAC MP3
14.)Still In Love (tentative title) FLAC MP3
15.)Heart On My Sleeve (tentative title) FLAC MP3
16.)Gotta Get Out Of Here (tentative title) FLAC MP3
17.)Growing Upside Down FLAC MP3
18.)Skinny Bones FLAC MP3
19.)The Next Best Thing FLAC MP3
20.)Dreamy Doll (tentative title) FLAC MP3
21.)Where Are You Now FLAC MP3
22.)I'm Blue (tentative title) FLAC MP3
23.)Summer Rains FLAC MP3
24.)Shout, Sister, Shout (The Boswell Sisters cover) FLAC MP3
25.)E: Pink Motor Helmet FLAC MP3
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