I was fortunate enough to attend the late Friday show. It was the oddest show I have seen, and I mean that in a good way. Stephin Merritt played only the bazouki. Astounding! The OTS was the perfect venue for the very quiet show. Felicity Shagwell was totally sitting behind us with Neil Gaiman. (I have since found out Stephin did music for something he wrote.) Oh yeah, the show. I had no expectations, and they were all fulfilled! A woozy lovely evening.
Addendum: Here's a little more -
If you're not familiar with the Old Town School it is a super intimate little theatre, there are maybe ten rows on the floor, and truly not a bad seat in the house. The sound is always amazing, and the show totally felt like some weird high school music recital, except with some of the most exquisitely crafted songs being played instead of the crap you would normally get at a high school recital. I had never seen TMF live (hell, I barely knew what they looked like, save for the pics in 69 Love Songs), and I guess they just do one super short tour when they put out an album nowadays. Stephin Merritt has some problem in his left ear and I guess applause feedbacks in his head and is really uncomfortable. I didn't know this beforehand, so I was a little confused as to why he put earplugs in following the songs. The dude only wears brown too. Oh, and he only played a Bazouki. I'll admit I'm a sucker for quirk, so I am totally won over now. The performance is not one that would come off in a rock club at all, and the audience was so quiet and polite during the songs. Which leads me to the Distortion issue: they played nearly every song off the album sans distortion. They were barely recognizable and extremely beautiful, especially Stephin doing lead vocals on "Nun's Litany".
Earlier in the week I saw Vic Chesnutt and Jonathan Richman at the Abbey, which is the oddest speedball combination ever. It was also a good show.