Jules Bourbeau ’25
In the course of researching my previous story on Matt Farley, the man who has written over 24,000 songs, I decided to subscribe to his mailing list: a fact that I forgot about until I returned home from winter break to find a postcard waiting for me. It was from Mr. Farley himself, advertising the North Shore Tour, consisting of two nights and two stops: January 13th and 14th in Danvers and Peabody, Massachusetts, respectively. One night was dubbed The Extrava, a performance of his “No Jokes” songs, and the next was The Ganza, a dance party with live gimmicky songs as the soundtrack. Not only were the shows incredibly close to me, but they were also free. I could only attend one of the shows, so I naturally chose the sillier of the two. The stars had aligned for a righteous sequel to one of my very first Tripod articles.
I gathered my friends—all of them avid Farley fans—and we made the arduous ten-minute pilgrimage to the Peabody Marriott. As soon as we entered the ballroom, Matt Farley approached us and introduced himself. He asked how we had discovered his music, to which I responded with my story of discovering the Fritz Wetherbee song by Papa Razzi and the Photogs. He seemed somewhat surprised by this, given that not only is Fritz Wetherbee not exactly a world-renowned celebrity, but also that the song is not particularly popular among the Farley subculture that I would discover the existence of shortly. After that, we discussed the finer aspects of Danvers life, such as the best roast beef restaurant and McKinnon’s supermarket.
After the show began and people started to dance, I gradually took in the rest of the people in the audience. About two to three dozen people filled the room, and they were surprisingly diverse. There were some young kids, but also adults, including an older man that gave me the impression of a history professor. Some people had on Matt Farley merchandise and, to my amazement, sang along to every single song. Without exception, however, everyone danced. I mean, how could they not, with an impressive supporting band and Farley’s incredible stage presence? He rocketed around the space, hopping, spinning, and generally becoming possessed with the spirit of his songs—and what songs they were!
The setlist of 50 included classics such as “Poop into a Wormhole” and “Used to Be a Pizza Hut,” along with some lesser-known but equally zesty cuts like “Mac and Cheese” and “Bleach Bleach Bleach Bleach.” While he played 50 different songs, we heard more than 50 individual songs. In other words, he repeated a few songs, such as “Timothee Chalamet,” which I had the privilege of hearing performed live four times over the course of the night. After about three and a half hours of this, my friends and I were rewarded with limited edition “I ENDURED MOTERN GANZA” stickers.
To be clear, although I write this rather playfully, I do not intend to make fun of Matt Farley. This is in part because he makes sure to make fun of himself frequently, but also because I do genuinely enjoy his work. He and his band are talented musicians, and not just in the sheer scale of their output. If you want to get a taste for yourself, The Motern Manly Band recently released The Ganza as a live album. Unfortunately, nothing can replicate the pure ecstasy that is dancing in sync with 30 other people to “Turtlehead Poop.”