The Illinoisemakers put on quite a show last night. Uniforms, pom poms, synchronized cheers, a helmet (inspired by Arcade Fire?), etc…

I was told each of the five sold-out nights at Bowery would have a different theme. Saturday was “Pep Rally Night.” Another night will be “Fake Injury Night.”

The band opened with a cheer before launching into “The 50 States Song.” I don’t have the full setlist, but allegedly Sufjan’s changing it up each night, which is good ’cause I’ll be back on Tuesday. Hopefully that will be “Free Beer” night.

Oh, and I finally figured out why there is a goat on the album cover: read the wiki.

Comments (57)
  1. Holla  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2005 0

    I can’t wait to see him in Detroit this coming september…it looks like its going to be a good show.

  2. forte  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2005 0

    Saw the first 2 shows…I liked the first night better. I felt the setlist flowed much better, and he played john wayne gacy the first night.

    Am I the only one who had trouble getting into the castanets?

  3. I too will be there on tuesday and I too am hoping for free beer night. Or at least “fake an injury for a free beer night.”

    BV has cool sufjan related poster sale post:

  4. Hmm, wonder if he changed up his themes because Saturday night was supposed to be “fake injury night” with every night technically being a pep rally. The Friday show (which I was at) was backwards night — supposedly everyone should have had their shirt and/or pants on backwards.

    Tonight (Sunday): Pirate night!

  5. Joey  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2005 0

    more pics of the balls hot xylo player please.

  6. I went on Friday and it was an Amazing Live show!
    Friday night was “Backwards Night” a few were wearing there shirts and hats on backwards. And I heard Saturday was “Fake Injury Night,” Sunday is “Pirate Night” Monday is “Fake Tattoo Night,” and Tuesday is “Formal Prom Night.”

  7. forte  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2005 0

    monday is fake tattoo and or fake beard night. and that xylo player is a ford model.

  8. I heard Monday would be “John Wayne Gacy (Jr.) Bobblehead Doll Night” and that Tuesday would be “Lame Gimmick Night.” But my sources are highly unreliable.

  9. mr. serious  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    Sunday was actually Let’s Play a Boring Show Night. It worked great, especially with those never funny cheers and all.

  10. derek  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    Has Sufjan been playing anything but Illinois songs on the tour? I saw him at the GAMH in SF and was a bit peeved to hear only songs from an album that had only been out for a week, and nothing from Michigan or Seven Swans. Ah, well.

  11. I first put two together when I read the album synopsis from the Asthmatic Kitty Website:

    Additionally, here’s an explanation of the song Decatur:

    Please excuse the dust as we’re renovating.

  12. forte  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    on friday and saturday he played All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands, in his encore.

  13. i’m actually less interested in seeing him with all this nonsense as part of the show. The music is good enough for them to just play it straight and sincere. Isn’t it a tad strange to hear the John Wayne Gacy song while they’re dressed like a pep squad? it cheapens the whole thing

  14. i just hope he hears this criticism and takes some to heart before the show i’m going to.

  15. wow, i’m not a hater, i loved it. went friday and the show was super fun and the songs stood on their own so it’s ok. the theme was so over the top, it worked well cause they were all really into it and carried it through all the way (chants and cheers and pom poms) i think on paper it sounds lame, but in reality, worked really well–for me, at least.

  16. Michael  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    I went to the show on Saturday and it was really a lot of fun.

    I think all you hipsters that don’t like the pep rally theme should just try to turn your frowns upside down.

  17. Fridays show was wonderful. The themes are fun and add to the SHOW. That is right shoegazers, they put on an actual SHOW. They don’t stare at the floor while whining white peoiple angsty stuff. They play amazing music AND put on a fun show. It’s quite different from too cool for school indie rock. In a good way.

  18. Why are people surprised that a performer who has pledged to make an album about each of the 50 states would engage in further gimmickry when performing the songs live?

  19. seiche  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    It’s pretty obvious why Sufjan is doing the pep rally theme. He knows that all of the hipster douche bags were too big of losers to attend their own high school pep rally, for fear of being pounded, so he’s giving them their own. I think that’s pretty thoughtful of him.

    Stay tuned for the second half of the tour when they alternate prom and homecoming themes.

  20. Good point, Eric. I do wish more bands would have a “Pirate Night.” There are not enough pirate rock n’ roll bands.

    But putting your clothes on backwards? That’s just lazy.

    And uncomfortable. Arrrrr….

  21. just curious  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    Is Sufjan straight or gay?

  22. drewo  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    Excellent show on Friday night. The theatrics were fun to watch and the songs did not suffer. More amazing was that the entire room was able to remain dead silent during some of the quieter parts of the music. No, the audience wasn’t bored. They were captivated.

  23. I think it’s much more thoughtful of Sufjan to have themed nights and make each show a FUN event rather than another self-congradulatory spectacle.

  24. Max Power  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    I went Friday night and also appreciated being at a concert where everyone (around me at least) kept their traps shut for once and actually LISTENED to a magnificent concert.
    Also, that xylophone player HURT MY FEELINGS. I… just want to… smell her hair. It would have been worth the ticket price just to watch her stand there and breathe. What poise, what grace, what… you know what. Guess I need to take a number.
    For obvious reasons, this comment will be left anonymous. If anyone needs me, I’ll be posting a pitiful missed connections on craigslist ISO a xylophone player with an “I” T-shirt.

  25. what time did he go on last night?

  26. eh  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    Friday’s show was a snore–and this is coming from a fan–but maybe it’s because the show started so damn late I started napping halfway through Smoosh. What kind of balls does it take to go on at 11:45, anyway? Drop the cheers, start on time, play the pretty music, I be happy.

  27. shweetness  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    friday was a great show. so fun! i loved all teh pep rally jim jams.
    but damn if we didn’t have to wait a loooong ass time for the show to start.
    and to the super effeminate super douche in front of me in the iridescent shirt who kept tring to impress with his whistling skills- i hate you, the hot xylophone player would never talk to you (and if i had to listen to you talk about how ‘cold it must be up on stage- you know what i mean? you get what i mean?’one more time i was going to throw up on your sketchers) you are a fucking loser. nice shirt by the way.

  28. come one guys, wtdeal?  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    so seriously, no one knows about the sexuality of sufjan? i mean, i just wanna know if he digs dudes or chicks. we all know the shows were boring and the ford model is hot, but does he like the butt or what? it’s a fair question…

  29. Yan  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    “The 50 States Song”? Was he covering John Linnell’s “Song of the 50 States” or just ripping him off?

  30. i think he’s christian and very straight. sadly.

    and i coulda sworn he did ‘for the widows..’ on saturday night!

  31. blynn  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    He did not do “For the Widows” on saturday night…sadly…I wanted him to, so bad!! Oh well. But it was a great SHOW nonetheless. I loved that it was more of a show than just a concert, playing what one could hear on the album. And he is straight…and I want to have his babies.

  32. On Sunday, he did at least one Seven Swans song: “He Woke Me Up Again”. There were a couple other songs that I didn’t recognize from Illinois but I might just be deaf.

    rachel, he went on at around 11:05. Which was pretty damn late for 8 PM doors.

    There was a nasty buzz in the audio system last night. It was really freaking annoying. I hope they get that fixed. Bowery is supposed to be relatively new equipment wise.

    The cheers are really stupid. Stupid!

  33. Chu Chu  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    The theme nights are priceless if for no other reason that they cause such distress to hipsters. Keep it up SS!

  34. thx i’m going tonight so i was wondering cause i imagine it’s around the same time as last night. ugh 11, so bad on a schoolnight.

  35. uh huh her  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    what is the name of the xylo player? it was scaring me how pretty she was. i kept getting distracted and looking at her rather than sufjan. damn her for being so beautiful

  36. The name of the xylo/backup singer is Katerina Kerns. We (BadmintonStamps) have a couple links to different photo groups of her. She is a Ford model and I would like to marry her, but she is too beautiful, I would always be scared of losing her and never feel comfortable.

  37. Max Power  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    Uh-Uh: I was in the same boat as you, except I thought Katrina (THANK YOU BADMINTON STAMPS) was the PERFECT visual companion to the music. Certainly better than looking into Sufjan’s creepy eyes. (Flame away.) Except it started to make me a bit frustrated and bitter after a while. “Why couldn’t I have spent the last five years writing music and being talented and composing songs about Illinois? THEN SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN MINE!!!”

  38. I’m not opposed to the theme night gimmick stuff, i think for the right band it would be aweosme. Maybe I take sufjan’s records too seriously then because most of them fit in the introspective/depressive/contemplative realm, i guess to me that + pep rally = cheap. I’ll be going to see him in lawrence regardless, but this sort of sounds like the “i love sufjan so much that he can do no wrong” thread, when in actuality it seems like he can. But its all in the ear of the beholder I suppose.

  39. bardamu  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2005 0

    I saw him on Sunday, I’ve not seen him before so perhaps he wasn’t up to form but I enjoyed the show and not just because Katrina was only staring at me (sorry lads) through the show…he played a fair bit of Seven Swans and gave me a new appreciation of the new record as well. I liked the theatrics, I mean it was novel for me and I thought the chick choir was great counter point to his voice. The guy has talent to spare and can’t believe people are whining about their navels instead of appreciating it.

  40. I saw them Pirate Night show. The shift from Pep rally to John Wayne Gacy was actually pretty well-executed. The song’s lyrics and imagery are stark enough that you focus on them rather than on what’s going on on stage, and the fact that the eight people on stage not named Sufjan were all standing completely still and doing nothing helped. I thought the show as a whole was fantastic.

  41. last night was alot mellower overall. SS seemed kinda tired but still a great show. anyone have the 50 states song? i *need* it

  42. i need it more!
    and sufjan has a cute butt.

  43. RE: 50 States song…

    There’s a great Sufjan concert from last year in Toronto at the following site, which includes the 50 States Song as well as his lovely version of the Star Spangled Banner. (There are other ace Canadian concerts by other bands elsewhere on the site too.) The concert seems only available to stream here; I’d love a copy to listen to in my car, but can’t figure out how to MP3 the sucker. Anyone computer savvy enough to know if that’s possible?

    Here’s the site:

    (link from


  44. cool thx for the link! i hope someone can mp3 it!

  45. typo  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2005 0

    For all those infatuated with the lovely Katrina Kerns, I’d like to put all your silly perversions to rest. She is not available for you to drool all over. So, I suggest that you except the fact that you are all out of your league and enjoy her contribution to the music rather than making a visual display of her all over the internet.


  46. cool incarnate  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2005 0

    Uh…actually, I think she’s quite available for me to drool over. In fact, she’s on my computer screen right now. Now THAT’s available, my friend.

    And since when is it “perverted” to compliment a woman’s looks? Are you serious?

    And precisely why would she be out of my league? I happen to be a very handsome and well-mannered individual with a good record collection, white teeth, and great friends. I hold down a steady job, know my way around a kitchen and speak four languages. Out of my league? I play in the major leagues, son.

    You sound like that loser she probably dumped before she left to go on tour. Tough noogies, kid. I’ll tell her you say ‘hi’ when I pick her up for our dinner at Nobu next week

  47. cool incarnate  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2005 0

    And another thing…

    I think you confused the word “except” with “accept”. I mean, it’s an easy mistake. They’re basically the exact same word, you know, when you don’t factor in the completely different meanings, and the spelling, and all that other English language bullshit.

    No wonder she left you. Katrina looks like a pretty literate girl to me. By which I mean, both pretty and literate.

  48. yeah  |   Posted on Aug 26th, 2005 0

    I hate people who brag about speaking “four languages” and being able to get into Nobu. And then use slang like “son” to prove that they’re down with the people. You’re like some marketing department’s vision of what an actual person should be. No offense- I actually agreed with you concerning that Katrina Kerns but the boasting was pretty cringeworthy.

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