“Blister In The Sun” by Violent Femmes might be one of those songs you’ve heard a hundred times in commercials and indie movies without knowing what it’s called or who it’s by, but it is one of Stephen Colbert’s favorite tunes. In a web-exclusive video for The Late Show, the band performed the song and Colbert introduced it as “a song I think I’ve played a thousand times, and I can’t wait to hear a thousand and one.”
Violent Femmes gave a very loose performance of the song: the original song is less than two-and-a-half minutes long, but they stretched this rendition out to over four minutes. They kept it so loose that towards the end, in what was likely a dream-fulfilling moment of Colbert, the band gestured towards him and frontman Gordon Gano said as Colbert joined them, “I heard you can sing.”
Colbert took over the mic and turned in a mumbly and whispery performance before letting loose for the chorus. When the song was over, the two parties hugged it out: the band loved Colbert as much as Colbert loved them. All in all, it was a unique late night TV performance because it seemed so personal for both the band and host.
In what is perhaps the most overshadowed part of this performance is that drummer Brian Viglione eschewed a traditional drum kit in favor of a kettle-style barbecue grill, using brushes on various parts of the grill’s top and handle. We’ll take our steaks rare and our time signature 4/4, please.