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The Best Thing Ever come to a toilet near you


Do my armpits smell?: Alex Billig, Noah Britton, Jen Page: photo by Kelly Davidson

A few days ago, we met The Best Thing Ever and they sort of are. An acoustic trio on the verge of sudden graduation-inflicted death, they're in the midst of a 14-date "The Bathroom Tour," a string of performances scheduled in restrooms from Portland, Maine to Allston to Revere. What's even better is that these shows are unannounced, even to their owners: for one "date," they picked a stranger off Facebook.com, learned songs that his FB profile said he liked, and then showed up at his BU dorm door ready to play him a private show in his bathroom. (Suckily, the stranger's roommate wouldn't let them in.)

It all began on May 1, so in the last week, The Best Thing Ever have bashed out hardcore songs in the pay toilet outside the Boston Public Library (where usually-cellist Jen Page played drums by banging a butterknife on the metal walls), whipped out “Wipe Out” in a Revere Beach shore-side restroom (where a bare-chested local yelled at Page for being in the men’s room and threatened to call the cops), and completed a full-length set for friends in guitarist/Irish-whistler Alex Billig’s Allston-apartment above-photographed bathroom (during which Billig showered and, vocalist Noah Britton says, “You could totally see through the [shower] door, so everyone saw him naked”). (*Big ups to Elisabeth for turning us on to this.)

But thus far, probably the most amusing restroom run took place last Saturday night, when The Best Thing Ever roamed around ambushing the lavatories of “every party in Allston.” In three hours, they played roughly 15 bathrooms. "We’re telling people we’re playing in their home and seeing if they realize they have the power not to let us," says Britton. In one, a drunk couple slowdanced while they played "Wish You Were Here"; in another, they covered Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa” while a drunk girl quietly puked in the corner.

The Best Thing Ever is a side project for everybody involved. Billig’s solo project, Never Heard of Zeppelin, is him screaming over a Casio. Page, who's moving to South Dakota in a few days, plays cello in other incarnations, but she also auditioned for American Idol in 2004 as a face-painted mime who mouthed the words to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and ended up on the Best and Worst of American Idol Seasons 1–4 DVD. (Simon supposedly told her she had the best voice all day.) And Britton has this lanky, melancholic-genius thing about him and this deep, Stephin Merritt-ate-the-National-frontman voice; he performs under his own name, manages a small label called H.I.G. Records, and tours with his ex-girlfriend as the duo Hip Hip Hooray. Plus he writes wry lyrics like this one from "Got MLK":
Holy shit/Have you ever really thought about Dr. Martin Luther King?/I know it’s a cliché/But goddamn that guy really accomplished something. . . He got shot/But he won/Because now/I go to school/With Deondre.

They have only three dates left. (Scroll to the bottom of this for more info.) But tonight, Billig plays his first solo gig as Never Heard of Zeppelin (MySpace link) ever at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain for Area D's "MUSK" DiscoElectro Dance Party with DJ Colbourne. Five bucks is worth it: the kid's awesome. (All his recordings are here.)

And then if you happen to be near the urinal tonight (girls invited too), you just may get a very extra special unbilled performance...

DOWNLOAD: The Best Thing Ever, "Got MLK" (via MySpace)
DOWNLOAD: Never Heard of Zeppelin, "Book of Love" (via MySpace)
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