Thanks to ReverbNation throwing their holiday party at Motorco and making it open to the public, I got to see a show for free that I would have gladly paid real American dollars to witness. Add to that stuffing my face with Pie Pushers before the show, and it was a good night. As a side note, there was a BBQ food truck set up in front of the Pit, a BBQ restaurant that is right across the street from Motorco. This both confused and delighted me.
I've seen Mac McCaughan play four or five times this year, and none of those times was with his main band Superchunk. A few of the occasions were with local punks Flesh Wounds acting as his backing band, but this performance was just Mac solo, with only his electric guitar to help him out. The set had selections from every facet of his career - solo songs, Portastatic songs, and of course Superchunk songs. He played a number of my favorites including "Detroit Has a Skyline," "Driveway to Driveway," and "Skip Steps 1 & 3," plus the excellent "Breaking Down" from Superchunk's latest record that I'm not sure I've ever heard them play live, or at least I can't remember it. He put on a great performance, just like he did the other dozens of times I've seen him. I keep coming back to his performances for a reason ya know!
It's possible I've seen Birds of Avalon just as many times this year as I've seen Mac. It's been mentioned before but the new six-piece/two-drummer version of the band raised them into an entirely new stratosphere of awesomeness, and that very much continues to be true. I've given up trying to compare them to anyone in particular, just think heavy kraut pop with tons of harmonized vocals (with as many as four people singing) and the occasional proggy moment. The double drums, often performed in unison, power the whole affair - words can't express how important this addition has been to the band. Actually, words probably can express it, I'm just too stupid/lazy to make it happen.