#42 – “Leeds” (2004)

Venue Songs

L.K.: A REAL Venue Song!

A.S.: Alright, well I’ll just go ahead and state the obvious that this is a Who reference, almost certainly thanks to the Live At Leeds LP, which I still confidently claim to be the greatest live album of all time.
L.K.: A lot of Venue Songs are pretty blatant shoutouts to other bands. This one being one of the more noticeable ones.
A.S.: Even though Live At Leeds predated “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, which “Leeds” most directly derives from.
L.K.: Maybe they just took the “Leeds” part and then kind of ran wild with the Who theme from there. If only it had that great scream…
A.S.: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was among the first keyboard-heavy Who songs, so that’d give John Linnell something to do, especially since he likely wrote this one.
L.K.: (It has some screaming, just not the epic CSI-opening type…)
A.S.: CSI opening, pshhhh.  Roger effin’ Daltrey.
L.K.: There’s also lots of Dan Miller guitar noodling going on in this one, which is always fun.
A.S.: TMBG’s own Pete Townshend.
L.K.: Out of all the in situ venue songs that didn’t get polished studio versions though, this is one of my favorite ones.
A.S.: Yeah, this song rules. So much energy, as of course would be necessary for a successful Who homage.
L.K.: Wall, ceiling, wall, floor, stage. There’s virtually no lyrics in this but it really doesn’t need any.
A.S.: For the longest time I had no idea what any of the lyrics were outside of “Leeds Irish Center” and “spinning around…”
L.K.: It’s just the venue, and its many walls, balls, floors, and ceilings. Oh, and bars, can’t forget bars.
A.S.: And the truck’s fuel tank.
L.K.: Oh yeah, that part.
A.S.: It sounds like they’re saying “Phil check” or something.
L.K.: I could never understand that part at all. I heard “drunk tank.” Drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk… something tank This was where their fuel got siphoned out of their bus, right? Because in that context, the fuel tank line makes a lot more sense.
A.S.: Allegedly; I had no idea about this until now.
L.K.: No, they did get their fuel siphoned out somewhere in the UK. I’ve heard it brought up in multiple interviews, so this must’ve been the place. Linnell also had a baritone sax stolen out of the back of their truck somewhere in the UK at some point; they seem to have bad luck with their property over there.
A.S.: This would also imply that the song was written, rehearsed, and performed right fucking there.
L.K.: Hey, that’s the whole point of venue songs. You write it and learn it and perform it. At the venue.
A.S.: I honestly wasn’t sure if they had some of them written in advance or whatever.
L.K.: I doubt they would’ve had the time.
A.S.: Before going on tour?
L.K.: But that would’ve defeated the point!
A.S.: Well I mean, the point was for there to be a song for every venue – they didn’t all have to be created and performed that day necessarily.
L.K.: Yeah, but pre-writing them feels like cheating to me.
A.S.: If anyone has information on when exactly the venue songs were written, that’d be helpful.
L.K.: Well I mean, it varied from song to song. They weren’t all written in the exact same context. I know the stories behind some of them, but not others. Since this was back when they were taping and selling their live shows and Dan Miller was writing little recaps of the downloads, he sometimes mentioned tidbits about the tour or the context in which the Venue Song was written.
A.S.: Well, “Leeds” had to have been written that day, which leaves me even more impressed.
L.K.: “The gig- located deep in the ‘where the fuck are we’ part of Leeds was  not my favorite gig of all time. The troubles began well before show  time. It seems that the parking lot is an ATM for the local hooligans.  Petrol (I’m using UK speak) was nicked from our truck and several cars  were broken into.” – Dan Miller
A.S.: Geez… I mean, Ian Curtis’ friggin’ headstone was stolen, so I guess a bari sax isn’t much compared to that. Different city, but still.
L.K.: Who knows how friendly the crowd was there… the newspaper sure didn’t like them.
A.S.: Oh christ.
L.K.: That is definitely one of the nastiest reviews I have ever read of any band, at least out of reviews that were published in actual papers.
A.S.: Yeah, fuck this guy. He seems to give reasonably good reviews to just about everything else. Everything gets 4 stars, except a reissue by The Fall (no shit).
L.K.: So yeah, bad environment surrounding the venue, horrible review… but good venue song. Crazy.
A.S.: Ugh, four stars to Bon Iver.
L.K.: Some people who like almost everything else just really, really, hate They Might Be Giants. It’s not that uncommon.
A.S.: Which is basically the reason why we’re doing this dumb blog anyway, because we like almost everything else, except we really, really love They Might Be Giants.
L.K.: We are the pro-“TMBG is legitimate music” crew. Or something. There’s room for all sorts of bands in the world, so long as they don’t take themselves too seriously, but are serious about their music.
A.S.: Yeah, personally we’re just not too keen on folks who take themselves way too seriously.  The stuff usually just winds up humorless and insipid. But anywho, it seems that, unlike yesterday’s venue song venue, Leeds Irish Centre is still open, which I guess is a good thing? Although there’s virtually nothing going on there anymore… except a THIN LIZZY TRIBUTE BAND!
L.K.: Oh boy…
A.S.: Things Ain’t Working Out Down at the Leeds Irish Centre. (Although I guess Things Are Working Out Down at the Music Farm, although that’s for another day…)
L.K.: (So many more Venue Songs to get to!)
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