Saturday, May 2, 2009
The Cat's Cradle
Like any other Superchunk show, I was standing there doing my ridiculous version of dancing, singing along quietly and gawking at Laura Balance, when it occurred to me that I have had a crush on her for around 18 years now. 18 years!!! That means I've spent more of my life fawning over her than I haven't. I'm getting old. Laura Balance is getting old. And Superchunk, yeah they are getting old too.
This Wednesday night gig was intended as a warm-up for their impending weekend outing to the enormous music festival Coachella. As per usual, the fans were very receptive and excitable getting to see the hometown heroes; though the Cradle was surprisingly not packed and sweaty as I'm used to for a Chunk show - it was crowded, but not uncomfortably so.
I was expecting some songs off of their new EP "Leaves in the Gutter", and there were a couple from that release (a really good EP, in case you were wondering...shows off the raucous, upbeat side of the band with obvious heavy pop leanings). But what I wasn't expecting was how many old songs they would be playing...outside of "The Popular Music" off of "Indoor Living" and the new tracks, there wasn't a single song released after 1995. Lots of crowd favorites - "Precision Auto", "Hyper Enough", "Tie a Rope to the Back of the Bus", and "throwing Things". More importantly, they played three of my top-five all-time favorite Superchunk songs: "Driveway to Driveway", "Detroit Has a Skyline", and the rarely heard but amazing "Animated Airplanes Over Germany". The band was having such a good time they played not one but two encores, closing out the night with, you guessed it, "Slack Motherfucker".
Hopefully with them releasing their first new music since 2001 and playing a few shows, hopefully this outing marks the beginning of a Superchunk resurgence. God knows it would make my life more complete if there was a new Chunk record to listen to, some live shows to attend...and of course some more opportunities to stare at Laura Balance.
House of Blues
This was by far the weirdest Morrissey show I have ever seen. I guess that is to be expected when you go see a man this sensitive in a town as ridiculous as Myrtle Beach, where we passed no less than two dozen miniature golf courses and about 400 "Wings" stores en route to the House of Blues.
The man from Manchester had canceled all of his shows in the tour previous to this one because he was "sick", and we were checking the website every day to see if this concert would be canceled as well. Luckily, the show went on as planned even though it was obvious that Morrissey's voice was not 100% healthy.
I'm guessing it was also due to this sickness that he only played for a little over an hour, a very short show by typical Morrissey concert standards (that aren't cut short by him wigging out over stage crashers or being able to smell meat cooking or god knows what else). It was still a good outing, fairly typical for the shows he has been putting on these last few years - lots of new songs from the last couple of records, virtually nothing from his early or middle solo era (I think "Sister, I'm a Poet" was the only song from this period), and a few classic Smiths songs ("This Charming Man", "How Soon is Now?", and "Ask" if I recall correctly). All perfectly fine songs, especially the smiths tracks, but what I wouldn't give to hear "Sing Your Life" or "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me" or "Speedway" or about a bazillion other overlooked classics.
I was going to ramble on about how strange the crowd was, an odd combination of hipsters, Myrtle Beach tourists, businessmen just off of work and tarted up middle age women, but I wouldn't even know where to begin. what I do know is the woman with the perm standing next to me looked like she had just stepped out of a time machine from 1983. In fact, she may have been one of my elementary school teachers...
(photo yanked from somewhere random online, that probably got it somewhere else...)