When I moved to Madison in 1994 the first band in I fell in love with was Marques Bovre and the Evil Twins. I couldn’t believe a band this good actually lived here, and I saw them every chance I got. Eventually I realized there were other bands, and they weren’t the only band I loved. The band broke up when their remarkable lead guitar player Linus got his nursing degree and moved away. I hadn’t really thought about them much since then, other than reviewing their live farewell CD for Rick’s Café. I was bummed to miss the reunion show earlier this year, which also doubled as a fundraiser for Bovre, whose health problems have resulted in growing medical bills. So when they announced another reunion show (which I heard rumored could possibly be his last), I wasn’t going to miss it, even though the afternoon show wasn’t easy to make the day after my sister’s wedding.
Bovre’s health had deteriorated since I had seen him last, and it made me sad to see him hobble slowly on stage. They brought out a throne-like armchair where he sat to sing, and he didn’t play the acoustic guitar, but his voice was as strong as ever. In comparison the rest of the band had barely aged. Linus looked exactly the same (and possibly played even better), while only a touch of grey gave away the fact that bassist Doug Meihsner had aged at all. Even though I hadn’t listened to any of those CDs in years, I recognized nearly every single song and all the words came flooding back to me. “Big Strong House,” “Medicine,” “Them Bones,” and their cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine” were all familiar friends. Then there was the audience favorite “I Like Gyrls (Who Like Gyrls)” about the trials of “being a lesbian trapped inside the body of a man.” The catchy and hilarious song which corrupts the Cars lyric from “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend” into “my best girl’s girlfriend” always seemed like the closest they got to a hit.
On the other hand, “Drunk and Disgusting,” a fan favorite sing-along drinking song, caught me by surprise. I had completely forgotten about the song with its small town bartender hero and all the arms linked swaying that went along with it. And yes, I still knew every word.
Also on today’s bill were the Josh Harty Band and Bovre’s So Dang Yang, the band he formed after the Evil Twins, which features some luminary Madison musicians including drummer Peter Kaesberg and flashy guitarist Jim Schwall. Both bands were very good, but it was the Evil Twins that got me there on a steamy Sunday afternoon where all I really wanted to do was take a nap. It was worth it.
The Josh Harty Band
So Dang Yang
Marques Bovre & the Evil Twins