Wednesday 18th April 2018 – Barenaked Ladies w/ Boothby Graffoe at Salisbury City Hall

This was one of a handful of gigs I’ve been to on my own in the past twenty years. Of my two friends who shared my love of Barenaked Ladies in the 2000’s, one lives in London, the other in California. Sam, my partner, probably likes what she’s heard from me playing their records, but she saw them with me less than two years ago (at this point in time) so was less bothered about a mid week show in Salisbury.

A sleepy cathedral city, perhaps best known before 2018 as being eight miles from Stonehenge, Salisbury was actually cast onto the world stage just over a month prior to this gig when former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in the centre of town. Parts of the area were still cordoned off as a precaution well into April. The band made reference to this event during their set (there was them thinking they’d just be making an obvious Spinal Tap joke).

This tour was in support of the release of Barenaked Ladies’ twelfth studio album, Fake Nudes, the title itself a politically pertinent reference as the term ‘fake news’ became prominently used in the discourse of the time (the play on words is of course also a clever nod to the band’s name). It’s perhaps my favourite of their records released since the departure of Steven Page, although the previous album Silverball is great too. Fake Nudes was the dominant feature of the setlist, with six songs from it’s tracklisting played (not a bad thing at all for a tour when you liked the new record!).

The show began with a mini acoustic set of six tracks, then the band went full electric for a further fourteen. A twenty one song show (incl. the encore) is pretty good value for money and went some way to making it worth the solo trek to see. Support act and good friend of the band Boothby Graffoe joined them on lead vocals for Be My Yoko Ono. I didn’t make it in time to catch his set, but he seemed a bit of a character and just recently opened for them again on their 2022 UK tour.

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