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Barenaked Ladies Rock Birmingham Book Store

Of the Oakland Press

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BIRMINGHAM -- Surveying a typically enthusiastic Detroit-area Barenaked Ladies crowd, singer-guitarist Steven Page Robertson noted that, "It's nice to see so many familiar faces -- with their kids."

The Canadian quintet's appearance Friday (May 9) at the Birmingham Border's Books & Music was indeed different than its numerous other appearances in these parts.

It was one of five stops to promote BNL's new children's album, "Snacktime!," which was released Tuesday along with a children's book illustrated by the group's Kevin Hearn. The crowd of about 600, a few of whom even camped out overnight, was heavily populated with children perched on their parent's shoulders or on shelves and tables on the store's second level.

"It [i]is[/i] strange," said fan Jim Gyolai, 26, an elementary school teacher from Woodhaven who was wearing a BNL T-shirt and has seen the group in concert more than 20 times. "I think it's good since their children (nine) outnumber the band members. It's natural for them to that route."

BNL delivered a 25-minute performance -- broadcast live on CIDR-FM (aka The River, 93.9) -- weaving two of its more whimsical "adult" hits -- "One Week" and "Another Postcard" -- amidst five of the short, smart "Snacktime!" songs such as "789," "Pollywog in a Bog" and "Eraser."

The truncated show still retained the good-humored flavor of regular BNL gigs, too. After telling the children that dancing was "mandatory," singer-guitarist Ed Robertson told the adults that "the set is highly distracting, so it's a good chance to swipe stuff." And during an impromptu rap segment, Page mused on how difficult it was to perform without swearing.

Afterwards BNL autographed copies of "Snacktime!" before heading to Chicago for its next stop to promote the album. The group isn't planning on touring this year but hopes to reconvene to make a new studio album in the fall.

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