TWRP at Melkweg, Amsterdam, Thursday 28 September 2023

Three gigs in two weeks, wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been that active. There were a couple gigs I had to miss earlier in the summer because of circumstances (Maggie Rogers, The Heavy), but I’ve been catching up on activity.

Where 65daysofstatic was a gig, TWRP was a show. Alex has been a fan of theirs for years, and he’s the one who introduced me to their music. This is the first time I’ve seen them live, but I understand that this is what their shows are like: to match their costumed on-stage personas, they weave a scripted narrative between their songs, heavy on jokes and interaction with the audience.

This is their “International Business” tour, which is sponsored by “International Business Systems”. The crew wore blue IBS t-shirts, styled like the classic IBM logo. Of course, IBS can also mean irritable bowel syndrome, and they played on this double meaning with this throughout the act. The story line involved a new IBS prototype called GROBB (Good ROBot Boy), who turns evil (or at least very misguided) part-way through the show, and has to be defeated by lead singer Doctor Sung hacking into the mainframe. The masks that the band wear hide their expressions, but Doctor Sung makes up for it with his larger-than life antics on stage. It’s playful and terrific fun. The audience was 100% nerds, and totally on board for every second of it. The encore absolutely brought the house down.

In their music they often collaborate with other artists (Ninja Sex Party, Electric Six), but on stage Doctor Sung takes the vocal parts for himself with his talkbox. I was close to the stage, but way on the right, where I didn’t have a view of GROBB, but I did have a great view of the musicians themselves. In their recordings I hadn’t spotted quite how bass-led many of their songs are, but that came through very strongly on stage. Commander Meouch the bass player makes it all look easy.

Alex was there with his friends Rafael and Wim. I don’t think they’re as much fans as Alex is, but they all came out of the gig beaming, looking like they had a great time. Alex was positively bouncing off the walls. None of us particularly enjoyed the opening act (Jazz Emu), but the main event made up for it in spades. Very highly recommended!

Merch haul: an IBS t-shirt for me, as well as a tour poster and a couple of stickers. Alex got at least one t-shirt, probably more.

Set list (in collaboration with Alex and, because I didn’t recognize all the songs):

  1. Birth of the Blues (followed by introduction to GROBB)
  2. VHS
  3. Bright Blue Sky
  4. Polygon
  5. Only The Best
  6. Typhoon Turnpike -> Hidden Potential
  7. Atomic Karate (with nunchuks)
  8. Summer Everyday
  9. Superior Moves
  10. Have You Heard?
  11. Head Up High
  12. Synthesize Her


  1. Starlight Brigade
  2. All Night Forever