Joe Iconis and friends kicked off a 4-show run of the concert-showstravaganza Things to Ruin on Monday to some raves.
I've talked a lot about my love of Joe Iconis music, and Things to Ruin is always a total party featuring some of his most foot-stomping, head-nodding tunes -- I couldn't be happier that it's back! People have written some really nice things about Things to Ruin, from Variety, which called it "So much fun that it's a little overwhelming -- 'transporting' is probably the best word!" to The New York Times, which says it "...would call Things to Ruin the beginning of something, except that it is already well under way."
But why take my (or a critic's) word for it? In honor of this show once again gracing the New York stage, I decided to get the real scoop from some of my friends and family who I've dragged to Joe shows (especially Things to Ruin) over the past few years (and who now go willingly):
"I'll preface this with the fact that I'm kind of a music snob. I'd never heard of Joe Iconis or any of his usual performers, so I was more than a little skeptical. But after hearing his stuff for the first time, I was like, 'He totally passes the snobbery test. With flying colors.' Since then I may or may not have tried to sing along to clips of songs on YouTube, witnessed some of the most awkward and hilarious stage banter ever, and rocked out to a live concert in a library. The madhouse of political incorrectness, overly scanty clothing, senseless violence, soap-opera love, and ill-advised drinking that make up Joe's shows -- whether they're in a black box theater or someone's part-time residence -- are all tied together by solid songwriting and truly joyous performance."
"It's never felt so good to feel so bad about my utterly talentless self."
"Going to a Joe Iconis concert is a little like attending a reading of the diaries of the misfits and outcasts of the world set to music--in the best way possible. You never quite get a grasp on what precisely is going on, but the unbridled energy and enthusiasm of Iconis's merry band of singer-actor-musicians distracts you from caring."
"My favorite song was 'Albuqurque Anyway' because I think Joe Iconis just kind of captured that feeling of losing something you wish you could control. I guess it's because I've been on both ends of that kind of friendship where you don't have a say about moving. Back when we lived in Hawaii, I remember my best friend Claire moving away and how all I could really do was say 'I wish you didn't have to move' and nothing changed. Then when we moved out of the [school] district I remember [my friends] and I making a promise to still be best friends when we reunited in high school, which never happened. I think that with that song you kind of know in the recesses of your heart that you're about to lose something that means a lot to you and fighting it is futile."
"When I went to my first Joe Iconis show, I had no idea what I was in for. Well, all I can say is that the night was really entertaining and totally unique. Everyone is ridiculously talented and the songs are really, really good."
"Things to Ruin contains a very dynamic set of songs ranging from serious and heartfelt to comical and carefree. What makes his music unique is that all his songs stay true to reality. I found Joe’s ability to capture the small, yet significant, events in a person’s life quite impressive... Sometimes I, too, have a hard time letting my heart be vulnerable, but the song 'Son of a Gun' found a hole and wiggled its way in. I hunted down the song on YouTube, quickly scribbling down the lyrics and taped then next to the head of my bed where they’ve been ever since."
"Things to Ruin revived my love of the heart & energy of live music, so much so that whenever I hear these songs live, for days I can't shake the feeling that I've experienced something genuinely magical happen between these people on stage. Also, Eric William Morris is really fine, okay?
The first time I heard Iconis & family live I knew that I was in for a long and beautiful journey filled with poignant storytelling, booze, and awkward banter.
If only all the money I've spent on Iconis shows the past couple years could be tax deductible."