When fans shouted out requests during Bob Schneider’s June 9th set at The Troubadour, the Austin, Texas based musician responded, “I appreciate your suggestions, but trust me I am a god damned professional.” He wasn’t kidding. Name one genre of music; Schneider probably has a song in it.
His name may not be familiar outside of Austin, but he’s had an impressive career, putting out a record every year between 2000 and 2011 (including several live records), and developing an extremely dedicated fan base. (Just before he took the stage, I overheard a group next to me talking about traveling to see him in San Francisco the previous night.)
The show opened with New Jersey born, Los Angeles based, singer songwriter Laura Warshauer , whose spot on this bill marks her first national tour. Warshauer’s set was full of charming acoustic songs like “Sweet 17” and her first single “Wishing You Well.” Warshauer and her white Yamaha were accompanied by a Swedish guitarist and Kiara Ana on viola and Viper, an electrical violin that looks like a flying V. The band provided lovely backing harmonies on all of Warshauer’s songs, except during a solo cover of “Only Do Fools Rush In.” Bob Schneider band member Oliver “Ollie” Steck also made a brief cameo on trumpet for “Dream Sequence.”
Warshauer’s delightful high voice got a lot of use throughout her set, as she conversed with the crowd whenever she wasn’t singing. (One of my favorites of those moments was when she asked the audience if anyone in attendance was also from New Jersey, which received a few cheers and a “Go Kings!”) Warshauer will be at Lollapalooza on August 4th, and her sophomore record “Wicked Wicked,” is set for release this year.
Schneider’s set began around 10:00 on a mellow note with a few folky ballads, and progressed into heavier material as he showcased his rock growl. Fans were dancing throughout the performance comprised of funk and hip-hop elements, as well as tracks like “Bombonanza” and “Tarantula” which feature a strong Latin influence.
Schneider’s genre bending sound was clearly a group effort, made possible with his very talented band: Bruce Hughes (bass, vocals), Clint Wells (guitar, vocals), Steck (trumpet, accordian, baritone horn, harmonica, vocals, pocket recorder, bass, penny whistle, keyboards, soft shoe) and Conrad Chouchroun (drums, xylophone, vocals, human beat box). The dynamic bunch was as equally fun to watch perform as their front man, especially Steck, in his jumpsuit with surreptitious mannerisms and eccentric dance moves.
Schneider’s rapport with the audience was full of a lot of “god damns” and silliness. He once stated while playing around on an iPad set up on a stand in front of the mic, “Don’t mind me folks, just checking my email.”
At one point he revealed to the crowd that he was suffering from a chafe on this inside of his thighs after walking around La La Land in short shorts, adding “But my balls are light as feather cushions.” After strumming the first chord of the next song, he abruptly stopped in embarrassment when he spotted a ten year old girl on the balcony.
The laughter and grooving continued until around midnight, after Schneider closed with an unrecognizable funkified version of his hit “40 Dogs (Romeo and Juliet).” As the audience poured out onto Santa Monica Boulevard, everyone seemed beamingly joyous. And how could they not be after such a god damn good show?