Monday, November 11, 2013

Superchunk / Parting Gifts at The Cat's Cradle - 8/24/2013

with Parting Gifts
The Cat's Cradle

I saw that the Parting Gifts were opening for this Superchunk show, and decided I didn't need to get to the Cradle in time to see their set.  But then I walked in and saw who was on stage, and my stupid brain all of the sudden remembered who the Parting Gifts are - one of Greg Cartwright's side projects!  Man I felt stupid for forgetting this, and bummed I'd already missed at least half of their set.  I've seen Greg solo, with the Reigning Sound and (as of Hopscotch 2013) with the Oblivians, but this was my first time in this configuration, paired up with the Ette's Coco Hames.  It still mostly sounds like a Greg Cartwright project, his voice and guitar work being so distinctive, but occasionally Hames would take the lead on vocals.  She's both nice to listen to and nice to look at, so it was a nice addition.  They played mostly songs off of their one full-length record, but also threw in a cover of the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby."  If you're a fan of Cartwright's other projects you'd be a fool not to check the Parting gifts out, and hopefully if you go see them live you make it to the gig on time. 

I've seen Superchunk dozens of times over the last twenty years (probably somewhere between the two dozen and three dozen mark if I were to wager a guess), but this was my first time not seeing them with Laura Ballance.  I've had a crush on her for over half my life, and not seeing her on stage with the band pogoing up and down while playing bass leaves a hole in my heart.  Filling in for her was Jason Narducy, who amongst other acts is currently working with Bob Mould (as is Chunk drummer Jon Wurster).  He did a fine job, clearly a professional, but I was really missing Laura - I was standing right in front of where she should be!  The band still sounded fantastic, despite this change.  I'm not going to go into great detail on what they played as the set list is surely online somewhere, but they played for nearly two hours with two encores, and played a lot of their great new album "I Hate Music."  Some other highlights included "Punch Me Harder," "Water Wings," "Detroit Has a Skyline,"Precision Auto," "On the Mouth"...basically, everything they play I love.  Most importantly they played their cover of the Magnetic Fields' "100,000 Fireflies," a song they don't play live all that often but at this point I consider it more theirs than Magnetic Fields.

One odd thing that did stand out that I personally had never seen before - the band came back out and played their second encore after the house music had already come back on.  Usually that music (plus the lights coming on) is the universal sign that it's time to leave, so I'm not sure if the sound man messed up turning it back on too early or if the band surprised him by coming back out.  Either way, it was a truly surprising encore, and if my brain serves they played the classic "Throwing Things."  And now when bands finish their sets and the house music comes on, I'll be second guessing whether or not it is time to leave...

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