We came, we played, we swooned. John Munson, Jake Slichter, Ken Chastain and I have played most of the Semisonic shows of the last ten years or so as a four-piece, Ken adding his amazing percussion grooves and a sturdy hand with the odd hunt and peck piano riff. But two nights ago we were joined onstage by a flotilla of MN musicians, all of whom added some swoon-factor to the proceedings. First of all, the Laurels String Quartet brought their elegant and dreamy tones to the stage for “Secret Smile,” four songs in, and they stayed with us to the end with only a few breaks. Then the swoonable Jeremy Messersmith, who had rocked the crowd earlier with a great set including soon-to-be-classic new song “It’s Only Dancing,” and his producer/drummer/keyboardist/co-conspirator Andy Thompson came up for an epic vision of Semisonic’s “I Wish.” That’s a song from “All About Chemistry” that I’ve always loved, the majesty of which (in my humble opinion,) we’ve never captured onstage. Until Friday. Took ten people playing at once, but we did it.
I had the good fortune to perform on MPR’s live radio sketch comedy (with music) show, “Wits,” last week. It was nerve-wracking and way outside my comfort zone even to hit my mark and deliver one line in a sketch, not to mention being in the wings in time for my various entrances and exits. (A spacey person such as myself is better-suited to a show with one big entrance – the stage manager only has to hunt you down that one time.) But in the end it was fun, and bantering onstage with the legendary Fred Willard was surreal and wonderful. What a funny dude. The clip above shows a particularly fun segment of the show, where Fred and I are pitted against each other in a blast of faux commercialism. Of course the big draw of “Wits” for me is that John Munson is the musical director of the show and we got the chance to perform several songs together. Here’s a link to Andrea Swensson’s MPR blog about the show, which also includes a sound clip of one of my songs from the show.