Posted in music | pictures on March 11, 2010

by Chris La Putt

DOWNLOAD: Laura Barrett - Bluebird (MP3)

Magnetic Fields

Last night (3/10) marked the first of the Magnetic Fields' 3-night run at Town Hall (they also played a show at BAM earlier in the tour) in New York City with over two dozen songs spanning the band's 20-year discography. It also marked the release of the band's ninth album, Realism, ending Stephin Merrit's "no-synth" rule (reportedly, the upcoming album will be composed completely with synthesizers). The concert, like the new album, marked a direction towards a subdued (many critics calling it "folksy") sound to the Fields' repretoire; the antithesis of the band's 2008 album, Distortion, which was madeup entirely of guitar fuzz and feedback. Stephin serenely drolled on throughout the set, occasionally switching lead vocals with Claudia Gonson and Shirley Timms. During the set, Claudia announced that they'll be releasing 20 tickets for sale today, for tonight's show (I'm willing to bet there'll be some on Friday as well). Just get to the Town Hall box office before the show.

After this 3-day stint in NYC the band is off to Europe but you can can continue to see what's going on behind the scenes, and at the merch table, at their tour blog. Here's hoping that their NYC blog posts won't be all about Paul Rudd stopping by to see the show.

On April 20th, Merge Records will also be releasing the band's much celebrated 3-disc anthology, 69 Love Songs, on vinyl for the first time. Incidentally, the highlight of the show for me was finally hearing Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget live.

What else is there for Stephin Merritt aside from composing music and lyrics to an off-broadway play and then having Peter Gabriel cover one of your songs? Well a documentary on Stephin and the band will be making its world premiere at SXSW next week entitled Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. Take a look at the trailer below.

Laura Barrett opened for the band. More pictures and setlist below:

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

The Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

Mag Fields documentary

Town Hall - March 10, 2010 setlist
Lindy-Lou (The 6ths)
You Must Be Out of Your Mind
The One You Really Love
Interlude
You and Me and The Moon
Better Things
Falling In Love With The Wolfboy
I Don't Want to Get Over You
I'm Sorry I Love You
Acoustic Guitar
The Nun's Litany
I Don't Know What To Say
Night Falls Like A Grand Piano (The 6ths)
Falling Out Of Love With You (The 6ths)
Intermission - 15 minute break
Kiss Me Like You Mean It
We Are Having A Hootenanny
All the Umbrellas in London
Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget
The Dolls' Tea Party
I Don't Really Love You Anymore
Always Already Gone
Walk a Lonely Road
Movies In My Head (The 6ths)
Fear of Trains
Summer Lies
From a Sinking Boat
Encore 2:
I'm Tongue-Tied
100,000 Fireflies

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Comments (45)

He deserves his place. They won with hard work and sweat. Now I have to pick and the fruits of their labor.

Posted by vanzari auto | March 11, 2010 2:24 PM

wow

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 2:28 PM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 2:47 PM

That setlist is weak. Stephin is getting huge and Claudia is annoying.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 2:53 PM

your mother is weak, huge and annoying.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 2:55 PM

It was a terrific show. I thought the set lists for the previous tour was a little more interesting but they're a great band and I'd listen to them play anything they've ever put out. Claudia had a cold when they played BAM last month so it was nice to hear her back in full form.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 2:58 PM

you're the one for me, fatty

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:02 PM

What time did they go on?

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:04 PM

Mehgnetic Fields

BOOM

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:04 PM

he's super talented and has made some amazing songs but never a full album that is a classic. if 69 love songs was turned into a single cd, that would be it.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:15 PM

ok guys cool just save Two Characters In Search of A Country Song for tomorrow night

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:18 PM

To quote an email I wrote to a friend -

The show was seated, acoustic, and deathly quiet. There was an intermission. People would whisper. He would complain if people got up and walked in the aisle. He complained that the front two rows of seats were partially empty, causing one of the band members to apologize later saying "I don't have as many friends as I think I have." Not that you could really tell an earnest statement from a joke in the air of awkward smug that enveloped the stage.

They all (the band) looked sorta like I picture people getting a Masters or Doctorate in music to look like, and behaved as such as well. The audience, likewise, had a similar feel. Lots of glasses, smirking, and wealth laying around.... Sort of rich old people plus the type of swarmy assholes that I picture when reading comments in Brooklyn Vegan or Gawker.

Very polite applause would follow the songs.

In this environment, the songs that played best were ones where the lyrics are center stage and literal, with humor; like "The Nun's Litany." At these points the show had the sort of life I'd expect from a Laurie Anderson show at Lincoln Center.

The setlist pre-intermission worked nicely to create a build and mood. The post-intermission setlist most pointedly did not, and meandered. The encore selections seemed pretty much puzzling to everyone. When someone was brave enough to pretend it was a rock concert and shout a request (Lower East Side) with additional verbal encouragement from the audience, one band member said "Ohhhh. But we are playing that tomorrow, not tonight. Sorry!" Which led to the WASPy audiences biggest rebellion of a scattering of boos.

With all that, the music was good, and I like the songs of Magnetic Fields so I'm happy I went. And it was a very nice night out with my girl friend. Probably won't ever go again, though.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:20 PM

8:50 to about 10:45.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 3:36 PM

almost identical setlist to BAMs

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 4:14 PM

looks like a great set
they usually vary from night to night but leave the newer songs intact

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 4:25 PM

looks soooo boring! I can't believe I am going tonight. I hope the National tomorrow makes up for this. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 4:27 PM

" I hope the National tomorrow makes up for this"

even more boring band

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 4:32 PM

Yeah, this setlist is a snoozer but The National will be even worse.

Posted by BF | March 11, 2010 4:36 PM

How long has he been this fat? Wow.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 4:38 PM

How is the documentary premiering when I already attended its premiere weeks ago?

Posted by Um | March 11, 2010 8:22 PM

SF was an "unofficial sneak peek" according to the website:

SXSW, Austin, TX: World Premiere

There will be three screenings at SXSW: Monday, March 15 7:15pm at Alamo Lamar 1; Thursday, March 20 2:30pm at Alamo Ritz 1; and Saturday, March 20 7:45pm at Alamo Ritz One. There is more info at sxsw.com or at our Facebook page.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2010 9:02 PM

The whiners here clearly didn't get it at all...Stephen didn't complain in any way about the empty front row and made lots of folks dream come true by literally inviting the folks at the top of balcony to sit down there - so let's set that straight for those who weren't there...as for the Point which is the MUSIC it was an amazingly beautiful, honest, funny, human performance by real musicians at the top of their unique game. What a treat to hear live acoustics of guitar, string and voice, just barely amplified. Check my blog www.monsterbeetle.blogspot.com for a more complete review, forthcoming.

Posted by monsterbeetle | March 11, 2010 10:25 PM

"When someone was brave enough to pretend it was a rock concert and shout a request (Lower East Side) with additional verbal encouragement from the audience, one band member said 'Ohhhh. But we are playing that tomorrow, not tonight. Sorry!'"

And so they did play it tonight. and it was awesome.

Posted by Anonymous | March 12, 2010 12:18 AM

I think you meant 'smarmy', not swarmy assholes @3:20. Great post though! Yay NPR!

Posted by Smarmy Asshole | March 12, 2010 2:49 PM

claudia is NOT funny. she should just shut up and play.
i concur with the zzzzzzs. i nearly fell asleep...a few times.

Posted by Anonymous | March 12, 2010 7:42 PM

i actually did fall asleep during the last number... still i think it was a decent show, but VERY VERY sleepy. didn't have to be that way, even when you take into account the kind of music that they play.

Posted by Anonymous | March 12, 2010 10:59 PM

just got back from the friday night show. I still love their music but would never go to another show again.

Stephen seemed completely self absorbed and perched upon a high horse as he made it seem the audience was more of a nuisance than a bunch of people paying money to see him pout in front of a microphone. he even went as far as to plug his ears after every song so he wouldn't be subjected to people clapping for him and his band.

the rest of the band members seem nice and more into the show and the audience.

Posted by Anonymous | March 12, 2010 11:35 PM

this was the worst concert i've ever been dragged to in my life. i felt like they should have been performing for a bunch of children in the back corner of a borders bookstore. i don't get it.

Posted by Anonymous | March 13, 2010 8:25 AM

stephin has tinnitus (i.e. loud noises such as clapping turn into a deafening high-pitched ringing sound that's unbearable.)

Posted by Anonymous | March 13, 2010 8:49 AM

I saw their show on the 10th and it was fantastic. The complaints against the show are completely absurd and untrue. Any person that thinks that show was boring, or thinks that Stephin Merritt gives off a "smarmy" vibe, knows absolutely nothing about the band, or their music. Merritt INVITED people from the balcony to fill up the empty seats in the front two rows and truly did make dreams come true.As for the people walking up and down the aisles, they deserved to be called out and embarrassed! People came into the show more than halfway through their set, which is highly disrespectful and rude. The setlist was actually very good, they clearly try to pick a variety of songs from all of their albums while playing some of their new stuff. Again, the show was fantastic, and i have nothing negative to say about it. As for the people that launched personal attacks on the band and the audience can go fuck themselves.

Posted by Anonymous | March 13, 2010 10:33 AM

Clearly the person who said the band looks like people getting their doctorates in music has no idea what people getting their doctorates in music look like.

For your inspection, I submit the Debo Band, an ethiopian-style band formed by an American guy of ethiopian descent getting his Ph.D in ethnomusicology at Harvard. Is this what a Ph.D in music looks like?

www.deboband.com

Posted by Anonymous | March 13, 2010 12:12 PM

Does anyone have the setlist from Friday night?

Posted by dave | March 13, 2010 12:20 PM

I was there last night. Setlist not so very different. They did "Luckiest Guy On the Lower East Side," "Telephone," "Suddenly There's a Tidal Wave," ended with "Papa was a Rodeo" . . . can't remember what else was different.

Posted by Alejandro | March 13, 2010 2:01 PM

Also, Stephin has some condition with his ears. He's very sensitive to noise. He was readjusting his ear plugs between songs, which I am sure come loose with singing.

Posted by Alejandro | March 13, 2010 2:10 PM

Magnetic Fields March 12, 2010 setlist

Kiss me Like you mean it
You Must Be Out of Your Mind
Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side
Better Things
I Don't want to get over you
I Don't know what to say
Acoustic Guitar
The Nun's Litany
I don't love you anymore
Shipwrecked
?
Walk a lonely road
Always already gone
10,000 Fireflies
>
Xylophone Track
We are having a Hootenanny
The Doll's Tea Party
Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget
?
All the Umbrellas in London
The One you really Love
The Flowers she sent
Night Falls Like A Grand Piano (The 6ths)
Fear of Trains
I'm sorry I love you
Summer Lies
From a Sinking Boat
>
I'm Tongue Tied
Papa was a Rodeo

Posted by Anonymous | March 13, 2010 9:45 PM

how was the thursday night?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2010 12:45 PM

Anybody who defends the band saying this is how they are and it's rude to come into a show halfway through clearly does not attend many good shows where the band appreciates the audience and in fact interacts with them rather than as if forced to, announce the name and album of a song which is so redundant. I wish I spent my money on something else.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2010 1:00 PM

thurs seems to be much the same as other nights setlist wise. they had a guest for the encore

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2010 1:24 PM

thanks for setlist

Posted by dave | March 16, 2010 2:30 AM

who was the guest? someone from 69 love songs?

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2010 4:48 PM

It was a terrific show. I thought the set lists for the previous tour was a little more interesting but they're a great band and I'd listen to them play anything they've ever put out. Claudia had a cold when they played BAM last month so it was nice to hear her back in full form.
Glad to see D.R.I. getting there due. This was the first band I ever saw live way back in 1989. I was in the sixth grade and went with my older brother's friend. It was on the THRASH ZONE tour. Ruled.

The first ever music I purchased were two cassettes, D.R.I's DEALING WITH IT and CROSSOVER. Long live thrash metal.

Great pictures.
Excellent post, thank you very much for taking the time to share with those who are starting on the subject. Greetings
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Posted by Youtube | April 29, 2010 3:33 PM

The whiners here clearly didn't get it at all...Stephen didn't complain in any way about the empty front row and made lots of folks dream come true by literally inviting the folks at the top of balcony to sit down there - so let's set that straight for those who weren't there...as for the Point which is the MUSIC it was an amazingly beautiful, honest, funny, human performance by real musicians at the top of their unique game. What a treat to hear live acoustics of guitar, string and voice, just barely amplified. Check my blog www.monsterbeetle.blogspot.com for a more complete review, forthcoming.

864

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