Lilys, Live at The Acme Underground
New York City, USA 29 April 1998


Navigating your way around New York City is always fun. It is a place that I will always enjoy going to, though I would never, ever choose to live there. And clubs…city clubs are almost always good. The Acme Underground was one of the better ones, not as much for a good show watching place, but rather for nice atmosphere. I'll take The Knitting Factory over it any day, but it was swell regardless.

A cross between John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan opened up, doing what he did. He did it well, but frankly I'd rather have listened to, I don't know, a homeless man vomiting. Poole was up next. Poole also did what they do, namely play upbeat power-pop songs that are tight as can be and nicely arranged. I cannot call myself a fan, but I never mind when Poole opens up…you are always guaranteed a non-annoying set of some nicely crafted songs. Essex Dogs came on just before Lilys, and I have nothing to say about them.

So, Lilys. Yes, Lilys. Kurt Heasley, never content to let his dynamic songs speak for themselves, opened up the night with a wonderful and hilarious rave on bankers, drugs, politics, and Hitler. One must admire the man, if only because he simply *adores* being on stage. His rant to start off the show set the stage for the entire evening, which was loaded with some of the better Kurt banter that I have yet to hear. They rolled themselves into a nice rendition of YGHJHGHF, and the show was under way. One could see right off the bat that Kurt was in a rambling kind of mood, with lyrics being twisted and melodies being recrafted right on stage. A fairly laid back rendition of The First Half Second quickly followed. The last moment of silence between songs came up next, with them rocking right into Shovel Into Spade Kit. Again, nice, but laid back…something felt amiss. That guitar did not have the fuzzy crunch of the record. The energy seemed a bit lacking. Maybe it is the lack of recent tour dates, maybe it was being cooped up in the studio for too long, or maybe it was the fact that they are getting bored of the same batch of songs. I cannot say, but luckily a little fine tuning after this one and the band seemed rejuvenated. From here on in, they were pretty much spot on.

Fantastic takes on Baby's A Dealer and A Nanny In Manhattan had everybody dancing in place, while Elevator Is Temporary actually had people asking for it *again*. This evenings version of Ginger was probably the best I have yet to hear in a live environment, and both Can't Make Your Life Better and Who is Moving were quite good…yet none of these moments could touch the two highlights of the night.

The band took their Apples In Stereo cover, Touch The Water, and completely reinvented what the song was all about. They slammed through a great version of the song, really grooving the song up, and then just as you though it was over, the drummer kicked the song back in for a jam on the ending. Kurt was laughing the whole time as he picked his way through a solo…the song tailed off, and they jumped back into it again! Everybody was dancing along, loving this rare moment of Lilys jamming…and they did it again! Three times they finished the song, only to jump right back into it a second later. The whole band was loving it, and finally finished it off in a jam of noisy guitar fun. Kurt broke a string, and had an ear to ear grin. "My first solo, like ever!" Very cool moment.

The true highlight though, came at the end. Lilys are not known for their encores, and this seemed to be no exception. They had just ripped through A Nanny In Manhattan and were beginning to pack up their stuff when the people kept yelling for more. Shouts of "Returns Every Morning" heard all around, with Kurt looking a bit surprised and grinning. The band had, however, already packed up their stuff, so Kurt strides up to the mic and announces that he is going to do Returns Every Morning all by his lonesome…and he did. Easily my favorite from Better Can't Make Your Life Better, and performed in such a great, intimate fashion…one had to love it.

All in all, it was a quite nice show. The band had fun, and after the first few songs the sound was quite good. I'm ready for the setlist to be shaken up a bit, as it's been the same batch of songs for two years now, and Kurt simply seems to be walking his way through songs at times, but even that aside, they made for a wonderful night of good vibes and great songs.

Now let's start to debut some new material guys!

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