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Har Mar Superstar (First Avenue, Minneapolis, Thursday, May 29th, 2003)

The curtain comes down on Har Mar at his "going away party" Thursday at First Avenue - Photo by David de Young (click for full size)


By by David de Young

So how was the show? For the entirety of Har Mar's First Avenue performance last night and for several hours afterwards if you had asked me that question I would have given you a blank stare, and maybe even shaken my head a bit in both disbelief and confusion.

There are few people with neutral opinions about Mr. Harold Martin Tillman, aka Sean, aka Har Mar Superstar. But for a couple of hours last night I enjoyed my uncommon position on the Har Mar fence not really understanding what I was seeing well enough to truthfully say where I stood.

Then the show started to sink in.

Har Mar had emerged wearing a red silk robe and treated us to brief a speech about his new found stardom. He's landed a gig spinning disks on the Spanish isle of Ibiza every Monday night from June 16th to September 29. They have different laws there, he says, so it'll be just like this show, except he'll be getting blowjobs while singing.

And what about his recently much-publicized illness? Har Mar had to cancel several UK gigs this spring when he came down with shingles. "Have you ever had shingles," he asked the crowd at First Avenue. "It's fucking awesome!" Then he repeated the words from his website that have oft been talked about in the British press (especially on XFM in London that is playing a remix of his latest single "EZ Pass" like every 1.5 hours around the clock) that he wants to get all the pirate diseases including scurvy, rickets and a peg leg. All his subsequent pirate diseases would, of course, be just as "fucking awesome" as his first.

"I hope you guys like music," Har Mar quipped before starting up his pre-recorded backing tracks to sing along to. One of his first numbers was fittingly the Lawrence and Hart penned "Sisters and Brothers" from the Free to Be You and Me soundtrack. Another was "Baby Do You Like My Clothes" which appeared on Har Mar Superstar's eponymous 2000 Release.

At one point during the set Har Mar sat down at the drum kit and played some really, really bad drums for a minute. "Ever feel like a sad clown?" he remarked from behind the kit. "That's how I feel right now." Of course he pointed out that that with a little more practice, he would be, well you know, badass.

He dedicated "Power Lunch" from his new disk, "You Can Feel Me." (Warner Brothers, 2002.) to "all the business ladies I want to fuck." Also from the new disk were "Freedom Summer" and "E Z Pass," during which I leaned on the First Avenue wall on the west side of the club by the ATM and got a huge glob of gum on my denim jacket. Sean Hoffman's (Viovoom, Beatifics, etc.) tip to "get some ice cubes, it'll come right off" was spot on, but I missed the rest of the song while I took care of that gacky business.

Har Mar claimed there were two more songs to come and then we'd have to scream for an encore. "It'll be fucking awesome," he pointed out.

The first of those two songs was an authentic copy of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke." As Har Mar finally removed his custom sweat pants revealing his custom Har Mar tight black underwear I found myself wondering how he manages to stay so out of shape, especially with the sweat he must work up during his rigorous stageshow. The audience, however, screamed with delight. The final song of the set was "Cry 4 Help," also from his 2000 release, during which he pulled a girl up onto the stage. "I used to have a crush on this girl in the 7th and 8th grades and now I'm going to make out with her in front of all of you." After some passionate kissing and faux sexual grinding she left stage left.

For the encore Har Mar emerged in some sort of tennis outfit that looked like it was left over from 1970 and played another highlight from his new album, the funky "Elephant Walk". For the grand finale he was joined by Twin Cities super-group Monarques for a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." In an amusing slam against the English, Har Mar explained that if this were a London show, he would have a band of hot models playing with him. But here in his own home state he needed the "cred" of being backed up by a great band of musicians. His performance on this song had me momentarily envisioning him as the new front man for Van Halen someday and thinking he might not be any worse than the rest of them have been.

So how was the show you ask again? Okay, okay. It was fucking awesome! There. I said it. Next show please.

Related links:

http://www.harmarsuperstar.com
http://www.youcanfeelme.com
http://www.thefuckingbest.com

"You Can Feel Me" review on Popmatters.com

Read Dara Moskowitz wonderful and detailed review of this same show here: