David Liebe Hart Band Bryan Street Tavern November 8
Better than: an evening of stand-up with James Quall. (Well, about the same, actually.)
In a 2007 interview with the A.V. Club Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim explained that the secret to their humor lies in the subtle-yet-brilliant way they are able to take genuinely eccentric individuals and put them awkwardly in the spotlight, somehow never crossing the threshold between laughing with these people and laughing at them. For fans of their Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! who showed up at Bryan Street Tavern last night to watch Davie Liebe Hart perform his bizarre original songs, the threshold between cruelty and humor felt markedly more blurred.
Still, for those expecting to experience the uncomfortable air of the duo's style of comedy in person, it was in abundant supply. Much of that is due to the fact that the things David Liebe Hart does on the television program aren't staged; when he sings about Korendian aliens and their greetings he genuinely believes them to be true. Anyone who showed up at all before the performer took the stage last night can attest to this as Liebe Hart was more than willing to talk fans' ears off about aliens, his family members and many of the other subjects he's known for.
As far as the awkwardness factor that fans were so eager to experience, it showed up almost from the moment Liebe Hart walked onstage. Apparently he and his much younger bandmates' musical tastes vary greatly, and there was some sort of dispute over the set list -- regarding how many punk tunes the band would play -- that continued for the duration of the night. Whenever a song came up that Liebe Hart wasn't quite feeling, he was quick to throw his bandmates under the bus, saying things like "my band only likes punk rock songs" before he'd begin to sing the song into his two side-by-side microphones.
Two of the highlights from the full band's set were "Korendian Honk" which talks about Liebe Hart's encounter with an alien at the La Brea Tar Pits, and "Reba McEntire," in which the singer professed his love for the country star, expressing his hope that "her music never retires."
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But all in attendance would likely agree that the evening's real triumph were the last few songs in which David pulled his most cherished puppet, Chip the Black Boy, out of his backpack and performed a capella duets. He lamented that he wasn't able to perform the songs from Tim and Eric because of copyright issues, so he did parodies of his own songs, transforming his most well-known tune, "Salame," from a song about alien greetings to a holiday number. As it was the last night of his tour, his bass player urged him to improvise a song about how the tour went. His lyrics included bits about his bandmates getting on each other's nerves and how they all smelled like skunks.
Critic's Notebook Random note: Just like on television, DLH performed the entire show sporting a pocket protector and a Bluetooth earpiece.
Personal bias: I felt slightly less special about having interviewed DLH prior to the show as he pretty much repeated every answer he gave DC9 practically verbatim in between songs throughout his set.
Random note: Besides just talking to everyone in sight last night, David also was kind enough to draw caricatures of many fans last night before the show.