Last night I went with my friends K and M to see the Magnetic Fields at the Overture Center in Madison, a lovely venue. click here for photos. We were only able to stay for the first set because K's lung decided to rebel against her, but the set was long and quite good. They played a mix of songs from the new album, Distortion (which I haven't yet listened to), and also from I and the soundtrack to Eben and Charlie, and of course a few from 69 Love Songs (including, hooray, "Papa was a rodeo").
Stephin Merritt was a complete grouchy pants, complaining repeatedly when people would clap, and referring to the audience as "they." (As in, to Claudia Gonson, "if you wouldn't pause, they wouldn't do that awkward clapping thing.") But Gonson made up for that unpleasantness (I know, I know, it's his thing) with her clever and charming chatter about kettle korn and drag queens bitching each other out (the subject matter of a song from Distortion). I have to say too I am a complete sucker for the cello, and last night was no exception: musically, the cello pulled everything together, even as it made Merritt's sourness rise and evaporate.