Robbie Fulks at Off Broadway 10-16-11 (Preview)
I first became familiar with Robbie Fulks with his song "She Took A Lot Of Pills (And Died)" on the Bloodshot Records compilation Hell-bent: Insurgent Country Vol. 2. Shortly after hearing him on that comp., I would be introduced to his live show when he opened for Ben Folds Five at the American Theater sometime in 1997. I have done my best to never miss a Robbie Fulks show ever since. The list of venues that I have seen Mr. Fulks play at in the St. Louis area include many that have sadly closed their doors (Hi-Pointe, Lucas School House), some that have been renamed (American Theater), one that I can't remember the name of (the jazz club over by The Fox that had a short-lived series of Americana type acts), and a couple of clubs that are still going strong today (Off Broadway, The Duck Room). It doesn't really matter where Mr. Fulks plays, it doesn't even really matter if he comes through your town with band in tow or as a solo performer, he will always put on an amazing show. On top of Fulks' great songwriting, masterful guitar work, and dynamic voice, his between song banter and anecdotes are not to be missed. Fulks is great at making up songs on the spot about any funny/odd situations that may pop up during a show, his last performance at this year's Twangfest made for quite a few hilarious musical creations. It is always nice to see him take a couple of shots at the local "legend" Beatle Bob when Bob happens to attend Fulks' show. Fulks had also been known to throw in cover songs such as the unexpected covers of Cher's "Believe", ABBA's "Dancing Queen", or any of the many Michael Jackson tunes that Fulks recorded on his MJ tribute album Happy.
To simply say that Fulks' shows are entertaining only for the comical interactions with the crowd or the chance of an odd-ball cover, would be a great disservice. Yes, Fulks has penned his fair share of funny songs ("Fuck This Town", "Dirty Mouth Flo ", "Godfrey"), but to overlook the rest of his catalog that might deal with "serious" topics is just down right criminal. (And I do not mean to degrade any of the "funny" songs, a great song is a great song no matter what the level of "seriousness" is perceived to be.) On Fulks' 1998 release Let's Kill Saturday Night (still one of my favorite albums not only by Fulks, but by anyone), the wit and humor prevalent in earlier material seemed to be pushed into the backseat and the songs took a little bit heavier feel. Fulks' next release, Couples In Trouble, took on an even heavier feel, though it contains one of my favorite pop songs in "Mad At A Girl". To me, Fulks' 2005 release Georgia Hard is really a great combination of the humor found in earlier material and the more mature songwriting found on Let's Kill... and Couples In Trouble.
So, if you want to see one of the most entertaining shows by one of the best songwriters going right now, do yourself a favor and get on over to Off Broadway on Sunday, October 16 and witness the greatness that is Robbie Fulks. Doors are at 7:30PM, show is at 8PM. 12 bucks get ya in the door. I am personally hoping he will play "Little King".
Here's a taste of the awesome song "Let's Kill Saturday Night".