Barenaked Ladies seduce Commodore with Fake Nudes

Barenaked Ladies with Ron Sexsmith at the Commodore Ballroom, 11/17/17

Barenaked Ladies @ Commodore
Photo by Peter Ruttan

There’s Canadian music, and then there’s the Barenaked Ladies debuting an album called Fake Nudes before a blanket backdrop at the Commodore Ballroom. From the merch table boasting plaid shirts and hunting hats to the blanket hanging behind the band  (abandoned for the second half of the performance, but still), the Ladies kept the Canadiana running at full tilt all as they launched their Fake Nudes album last night (Nov. 17) at the Commodore. With their trademark upbeat style, the Ladies blended beloved classics like “Brian Wilson,” “If I had $1000000,” and the ubiquitous tongue twister “One Week” with brand new hits like “Canada Dry” and “Lookin’ Up.”

Opening for the Ladies was Ron Sexsmith – possibly the most affable gentleman ever to cross the Commodore stage in a fancy jacket and broach – who barely opened his mouth except to worry aloud whether the Ladies were really his friends, and to thank a stagehand for fixing his rapidly deflating mic stand mid-song. Wandering off stage after his set with little more than a “thanks,” Sexsmith set the tone for a night of happy-go-lucky music that could have been mistaken for informal in any other venue, but struck the Commodore as nothing less than “real”…as one concert goer put it.

Barenaked Ladies @ Commodore
Photot by Peter Ruttan

When the Ladies took the stage, it was to a jam-packed room of happy people whose minds were as far from the outside world of ‘fake news’ and global tensions as possible. Breaking from one of their old hits to mention that it was “recorded in Burnaby…right down the street from the Taco Time, eh,” the Ladies kept things conversational and inviting and quintessentially Canadian. Bleeding effortlessly between rock, rap (sort of), and pop hits such as the theme song to the insanely popular The Big Bang Theory, the Ladies proved over and over that you can have fun and still influence the whole world.

Keeping it rolling, Robertson introduced special guest Sarah McLachlan to utter pandemonium before joking, “wouldn’t that be cool? She’s totally not here.” A risky move, but fortunately the mood didn’t dip as the band got into heavier territory with new single “Invisible Fence.” In true Canadian fashion, Robertson sang, “like the colour of your skin or the way you dance, at the end of the day we’re no different and we gotta break down the invisible fence.” A pretty big task, given the current political climate, but perhaps not too big for the Barenaked Ladies.

Barenaked Ladies @ Commodore
Photo by Peter Ruttan