7 reasons to catch Barenaked Ladies at the fair

7 reasons to catch Barenaked Ladies at the fair

By Chris Jay 07/31/2014


The Ferris wheel has been constructed. The livestock grow plump in the barn. The bingo tent is ready to tempt the get-rich-quick crowd. Carnies are putting the finishing touches on games that Congress could investigate for tampering and corruption. Yes, once again, the Ventura County Fair is set to shine like a gluttonous beacon by the sea.

A quick look at this year’s lineup — awhile not as strong as perhaps the past few years, it still offers something for everyone. From oldies act with only one original member, like The Beach Boys and The Spinners, to oldies acts that have two original members, like Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Deep Purple, to the weekend dress-up cowboy and country-girl crowd who will down domestic beer to the radio-friendly sounds of Jake Owens and Little Big Town, the fair’s main demographics should be happy with the options.

This year, however, the act that’s the most interesting is Canada’s Barenaked Ladies. Here are 10 good reasons why the band with the of- maligned name is not to be missed.

Hits. Hits. Hits.
Even if you think you don’t know Barenaked Ladies, chances are you do. One of the catchiest songs of the past 20 years, “One Week,” reached No.1 on the Billboard Charts, was nominated for Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, Junos, VMAs and virtually every music award imaginable. In addition, there’s a good chance you’ve hummed along to one of the following songs at some point: “If I Had A Million Dollars,” “Brian Wilson,” The Old Apartment,” “Pinch Me” and many more. Still think you don’t know any BNL songs? How about the ultra-catchy theme to the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory? Yeah. We knew you knew at least one song.

Cream of the crop
Everyone knows Ben and Jerry’s rock-related ice cream flavors such as Phish Food (Phish) and One Sweet Whirled (Dave Matthews), but did you know that If I Had A Million Flavors (sometimes known as Everything but the . . . ) is an homage to a Barenaked Ladies song? In a classy move, the band gives all its royalties from the ice cream to charity.

Mother Nature’s sons
Since before going green was cool, Barenaked Ladies have been proponents of environmentalism. Their tours are arguably the greenest of any modern artists, using biodiesel fuel, recycling all drink and food products and utensils backstage, and always having environmental organizations with booths and information at their shows.

No planetary constraints
In February 2013, Barenaked Ladies participated in what was billed as the “first space-to-earth musical collaboration” when it jammed with a Canadian astronaut at the International Space Station, along with a Canadian student choir.

Founding member and lead singer, the perpetually smiling Ed Robertson, survived a plane wreck when the private jet in which he and three other passengers were traveling, crashed. All on board walked away with no serious injuries. Keyboardist Kevin Hearn, at the peak of the band’s commercial success, was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, which required bone marrow transplants. Not only did he beat the cancer, he went on to release a tremendous solo record about the experience called H-Wing.

Famous fanbase
Barenaked Ladies is on record as being Paul McCartney’s favorite modern band, with Sir Paul saying that he and John Lennon never had harmonies that good. Need more? The Beach Boys’ resident genius Brian Wilson covered the Barenaked Ladies song “Brian Wilson” in concert. That’s props from a Beatle and a Beach Boy.

The name that keeps on giving
It may be somewhat of a cheap joke, but, hey, it’s still pretty funny to proudly announce you’re taking the family to the county fair to see (drum roll) Barenaked Ladies.

Barenaked Ladies will perform on Monday, Aug. 4, at the 2014 Ventura County Fair. For the full schedule of entertainment visit www.venturacountyfair.org.


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