The Violent Femmes experience, 2013. (New Yorker)
A cheer went up as the band took the stage. Here they were! And time was of the essence! But they didn’t dive right in—they warmed up with some later numbers, beginning with the rather boring “Hallowed Ground.” Gano wore black. “I see the fear, it’s on the rise,” he sang, placidly. With his self-tinting glasses and receding hairline, Gano looks like a world-weary high-school math teacher; Ritchie, a big, long-haired guy who now lives in Tasmania (he also plays the shakuhachi, the jaw harp, and the didgeridoo, among other instruments), looks like a man who has sought, and found, himself. He was playing a big wooden acoustic bass and wearing a wide black hat with a brim. They played two more listless later songs, “All I Want” and “Nightmares.” It was hard not to marvel at Gano as he sang these songs as the air pressure shifted, the sky darkened, and the lightning popped; he was the bandleader on the Titanic, post-iceberg, and he was saving the best music for when the boat went underwater.