Neutral Milk Hotel were a band formed in the early ’90’s by a man named Jeff Mangum. Within the span of about 9 years Neutral Milk Hotel produced two full length albums – On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Over the years the latter of the two albums has become a highly praised and widely popular record which has also taken on somewhat of a cult following among fans. With that said, what if I told you that there was a band who cover In the Aeroplane Over the Sea from front to back on ukulele and they call themselves Neutral Uke Hotel? That’s what I thought. You say it can’t be done. Well, it can be done and it is really great.
Neutral Uke Hotel played The Sunset Tavern recently and all who were in attendance sang and cried and reminisced throughout the entire, uninterrupted set. This sort of group reaction makes absolute sense if you understand the band’s mission. Taken from their website…
‘Neutral Uke Hotel’s mission statement is simple: to unite obsessed fans of Neutral Milk Hotel for a live performance of their critically acclaimed “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” album, played in its entirety on ukulele by Shawn Fogel, with accompaniment from members of Golden Bloom and The Motion Sick.’
That’s it. And it totally works. I had the chance to chat with the boys of Neutral Uke Hotel before their set and we talked about what makes Neutral Milk Hotel so important to people, ukuleles, if Jeff Mangum has reached out to the band in some fashion and I’ve got some tunes from the band as well, namely ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’, ‘Holland, 1945’ and ‘Oh Comely’. Listen to the chat here.
Watch some video of the night below and check out the photo gallery here .