Young men and their guitars “gunn” down the crowd at the city’s Bluebird Theatre.
BY TIM HINELY
Nice triple bill, or at least a nice double bill as I knew nothing about Residual Kid but a pal of mine loves ‘em and told me I had to get there early enough to check them out. Apparently they’re a trio from Texas who are building a serious fanbase. For this tour they have an extra guitar player and was reminded of….ok, of classic Nirvana (to be completely generic). Only problem, is I never liked Nirvana, but as I told my pal, these guys did what they did very well. They had good songs (it was the sound I wasn’t into) and had a good rapport with the crowd. If that’s your thing do check them out.
Up next was recent Matador Records signing Steve Gunn. The guy is known to be a classic guitarist with a host of left-field moves on his six string. The guy is supremely talented and he had a full band with him a well. I likened some of his stuff to David Kilgour (The Clean) meets the Grateful Dead. Some of it was noodly while other tunes rocked and some had some serious pop hooks. One songs went one for way too long (his “Dark Star” or whatever that really long Grateful Dead song is?). This guy definitely is worthy of your time and while you’re at it check out his latest full length, Eyes on the Line (released back in June on Matador; read the BLURT review HERE).
The really loud trio from Amherst, MA are back out on tour which means I drop whatever it is I’m doing to go see them. J. Lou and Murph are still at it and sound better than ever. After nearly 20 years apart (the original lineup broke up in 1989) they roared back in 2007 with a vengeance and a new record (Beyond). They’re now touring for their fourth album since their reunion, Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not, which is a big improvement over their previous one (I Bet On Sky…the only album since they reformed that I haven’t liked).
Since those early day they’re now better players and get along better too, It’s (mostly) J’s show but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better rhythm section than Lou Barlow and Murph.
They opened with “Thumb” and proceeded to play a greatest hits set, at least greatest hits to these ears. “In a Jar,” “The Wagon,” “Feel the Pain” and toward the end we heard old chestnuts like “Freak Scene” and “Forget the Swan” (from their classic S/T ’85 debut).
After some stomping they came out for two encores, both of them from their classic record, You’re Living All Over Me (1987) “Kracked” and “Sludgefeast” and called it a night.
Not a lot of bands get better over time but these guys have, at least in the live setting. Such an absolute pleasure to see these guys back in action.