The Baseball Project + Minus 5 + Dressy Bessy 8/15/14

Dates: August 15, 2014

Location: Oriental Theatre, Denver CO

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TEXT BY TIM HINELY / PHOTOS BY J.D. BAMFORD

I had arrived about 2/3 of the way through Denver’s own Dressy Bessy’s set and have seen them many times over the years — they’re always a good time. This show was no exception ‘cept the professor looking bass player is not there any longer and some tall, thin dude w/ glasses is in his place. I heard a few choice cuts and the band looked thrilled when Peter Buck jumped on stage with them near the end.

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The Minus 5 is a revolving cast (in the past it has included assorted R.E.M.s, Wilcos, Posies, etc) but these days it’s leader Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Peter Buck and Linda Pitmon and lemme tell you, they put on a terrific, energy packed set full of good vibes. The band seemed happy to be there and thus the crowd reciprocated (or vice versa…though I’m not sure if Peter Buck was mad, sick or if that low-key, hang-in-the- back-and-not-smile is maybe his stage presence). Most of the material seemed to be from the two latest records, S/T (aka the Gun Album) Killingsworth. Towards the end Mike Mills popped out and played bass on one song.

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The band took a little break and out came The Baseball Project. It’s the same lineup as the Minus 5 ‘cept the 5th member is, yup, you guessed it, Mike Mills. Again, the band cranked out one baseball-themed song after another (from each of their three records including the latest 3rd on Yep Roc Records) and we heard odes to folks like Dock Ellis, Dale Murphy (“Dale Murphy needs to be in the hall of fame”) and yes, even the hated Alex Rodriguez.

Oh, there were plenty more, “From Nails to Thumbtacks” (Lenny Dykstra) “Harvey Haddix” (yup), “Past Time” (uh huh) and of course, “Ted Fucking Williams.”

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More? “The Day Dock Went Hunting Heads,” “13,” “They Are the Oakland A’s” and a few others (“Fair-Weather Fans”).

The mostly long-in-the-tooth crowd was not gonna let these folks leave without an encore so we heard “Extra Innings” and “Jackie’s Lament,” and then Mills began talking about a baseball team in Maryland, “I think they were from….uh….Rockville,” he explained, and they jumped right into ‘Don’t Go Back to Rockville” and just simply killed it.

Other than a gig at Coors Field the following day, this was the final night of the tour and all three bands were firing on all cylinders. What a night.

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Photos credit: JD Bamford Photography (http://jdbamford.photography/performance)

 

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