Bull City 11th Anniversary Partywith Superchunk, Pipe, Last Year's Men, and Daniel Bachman
Ponysaurus is located just a few blocks from the more "newly developed" parts of downtown Durham, but it's like a different world - boarded up buildings, blight, and the typical trappings of inner city poverty abound. You can see the changes creeping that way though, that new money slowly overtaking block by block in the same fashion kudzu covers everything it encounters. I suppose Ponysaurus itse;f would be one of those agents of change themselves. I'll leave it up to the reader to decide if this a good or bad thing (or as is almost always the case in these situations, both), I'm just painting the scene...
I got there and Daniel Bachman was already well into his set. Just him and his guitar performing really pretty, intricate instrumental music. He also played this weirdly shaped lap guitar that I'm going to assume was a dobro until I'm told different. He's really damn young! Way younger than you'd probably expect given his talent level...his recordings make you would assume he's a much older cat, or at least that applied to me. Maybe he just has an old soul, whatever that means. These instrumental guitar dudes are really hot right now, right? It feels like there are a lot of them. Daniel is as good as any of them if not better.
I was pretty excited Last Year's Men were playing this party, because I was pretty sure they had broken up. Maybe it was just a "hiatus," but either way they sorta fizzled out and I believe it had been quite a while since they last performed live. Does this gig signal that the band is back for real or was this just a one off, a favor for Bull City Records? I guess time will tell. They were as good as ever, playing a number of tracks from their great album "Sunny Down Snuff" as well as that second record they released only as MP3s that I must confess I haven't really heard. I was into the jams anyways though. One noteworthy change was Montgomery was back in band - before their previous hiatus (or whatever it was) he was no longer with the group, instead focusing all his attention on Flesh Wounds. It was nice to see him back in the fold. I hope I get to see them again, and soon, because they're one of my favorite local acts.
Pipe! PIPE PIPE PIPE PIPE PIPE. That's really all the review of this band should be. I've seen them dozens upon dozens of times and it's always the same...the band rocks out to pretty much the same songs they always play, holding shit down in a straight-forward but necessary fashion; singer Ron Liberti, Robert Pollard's long lost twin, puts on a performance that is somewhere between pantomime, modern dance and your favorite drunk uncle; the crowd throws beer cans at the band; I smile and laugh the entire time. They played a lot of great hits, including two of their best "Biscuits" and "Yr Soaking in It" and a cover of Joe Jackson's "One More Time." At one point Ron caught one of the beers thrown at him, took a drink from it, and then threw it back at the crowd as if the whole thing was choreographed. He also sang at least one song standing under a giant plastic tarp like he was wearing the world's most suffocating ghost costume. Pipe is everything rock bands should aspire to be.