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Live: Aimee Mann at Town Hall

Aimee Mann’s Christmas Show returned after a three-year hiatus and this year’s Town Hall tour stop kicked off with a digital short entitled, “Murder, She Sang.” What followed next was a variety show featuring Mann and friend/bandmate Ted Leo, special guests Fred Armisen, Susanna Hoffs and Jonathan Coulton. The latter three supported Mann and Leo with plenty of musical performances, joke-cracking, sketches and role-playing. 

Mann and Leo, who play together in their new collaboration, The Both, dove straight into the Christmas songs with original composition “Nothing Left To Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue)" and holiday classics such as “Winter Wonderland.”

Jonathan Coulton served as the night’s second special guest after Hoffs and got everyone laughing as he lamented about the lameness of “Jingle Bell Rock” before proceeding to play a recording of it. While the song played on, Coulton checked his iPhone, sent a few texts, drank an entire bottle of water and took a picture of the crowd.

"I would like to cheer us all up with a sing along,” said Coulton. “You are portraying a horde of zombies. Your part is, ‘All we wanna do is eat your brains.’ That's it. That's the whole part. A lot of you are shy. It's a low energy room. You’re all in seats. If you don't want to sing, that’s all right. Neither do I.” Coulton launched into his contribution to Mann’s show, “Christmas Is Interesting,” a tune about zombies.

Hoffs paid homage to her group, The Bangles, and performed “Eternal Flame” before Mann and Leo returned to the stage for “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” The evening’s third and final special guest was Native American comedian, Billy Smith, a character of Armisen’s. After the former SNL alum exited the stage, Mann and Leo performed a parody to the music of “Walk Like An Egyptian” sung from the perspective of a Jewish woman (Hoffs).

"This is about the time when we are slightly sick of Christmas music, so we're going to sing a couple of non-Christmas songs,” said Mann. “Ted and I are in a band together and put out a record this year,” explained the singer-songwriter before she and Leo played The Both’s “No Sir.” Leo squeezed in a song from his band’s catalog “Bottled In Cork” and admitted that he “played this wrong last night.”

"I think you should do one of your songs,” Leo suggested to Mann. "It's very un-Christmas-y,” joked Mann, “unless you spend your Christmases in a deep depression.” What came next was Mann’s biggest hit “Save Me” with Leo providing harmonies.

"We're going to sing this holiday classic that's kind of about date rape, but nobody's really sure,” cracked Mann before serenading the audience with “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” The show closed with all performers and guests on stage to sing A Charlie Brown Christmas’s “Christmas Time Is Here.”

By Jennifer Boyer

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