March 1, 2014
Baby’s All Right
Brooklyn, NY – Feb 25, 2014
This was the last show of the tour and seBADoh were in rare fucking form to say the least.
My friend and editor Vals and I arrived at Baby’s All Right a little after 8PM to find Lou Barlow manning the merch table, chatting with fans and posing for a quick picture or two with excited punk Dockers in button-ups. This was the third time I’ve seen seBADoh wrap up a tour and I fear it’s becoming something of a tradition. The first time was at the Echoplex in L.A. when opener Quasi cancelled, Barlow’s guitar stopped working, and Jason Lowenstein, not to be out-shined like Soundgarden, broke a bass string after having a full drink flung in his general direction. Then there was the Bowery Ballroom show where Lou played the Weed Forestin’ album in its entirety on his new tenor ukulele, Jason and Bob did the Circle Of Buzzards thing before all joining together to premier songs from the “Secret EP” and play old favorites like “Flame” and “Homemade” with an intensity that caught everybody in the room off guard (Click Here – I’m not sure that was a “last show” now that I think about it but it bears mention based purely on its awesomeness). And now this one at Baby’s All Right where the band got loose and kicked out the jams for 130 die-hards on a Tuesday night in Williamsburg, BK.
This was NY performance #2 for the band, having played a sold out show at Mercury Lounge the night prior and I wondered how their energy would be after playing 17 gigs in a row, Mike Watt-style. After the opener “Magnets Coil,” any concern about a road weary band limping through their last 20 songs before running from each others’ company, half-mad from a month plus cooped up in a mini van were stricken from my mind. This night found ’em in high spirits playing cuts from their new record Defend Yourself and pulling “hits” from their 20+ year career. Also, they were more talkative than I had ever seen them and we laughed when Barlow half jokingly yelled at the big bald guy front row center for “killing his vibe” with the constant shutter click from an over-sized camera lens. “That’s a big guy with a big camera!” quipped Lowenstein. “Look at that thing! It’s like a big dong in yr face. A big dong camera!” Lowenstein continued cracking wise causing Barlow to laugh out loud along with everybody else in the audience, besides the camera guy who I believe was there for the Brooklyn Vegan blog. Haha!
This tour had been a tough one when drummer Bob D’Amico had his mitt bitten by some deranged mongrel outside a bowling alley in Texas. Having to put out a distress call via Facebook looking for drummers to fill in for a fallen brother with a dog bite might have seriously crippled a lesser band but the boys persevered and Bob was back in action by the time they played the High Watt club in Nashville, TN on Feb 17th. Pros. Anyways, back to the show. Baby’s All Right is a little club with a stupid ass name and we maneuvered our way right up front eventually settling in our own little corner of stage left. Everything was cool until this weird Gollum-like chick crept up next to Vals, biting her nails and craning her neck in desperate attempts to scope out something real or imagined at Lou’s feet. I watched as Vals gave her the eye to no effect. As if that wasn’t enough, this Adderall-addled freak whips out a cracked screen iPhone and proceeds to record snippets of random songs that she will undoubtedly never watch at any time, ever. Ughh. I guess it wouldn’t be a “real” Brooklyn rock show without an abundance of self-conscious milk-feds loudly taking drink orders for their friends during the quiet song or blind drunk social media strategists breathing heavily down the back of yr neck. Am I bitter? Maybe. But I digress.
Given it was the last night of the tour the band was in celebratory mode and Lowenstein in particular was three fucking sheets. When they switched sides and Jason took over guitar and vocal duties from Lou, he went full on sloppy style and swayed dangerously through his numbers, adding impromptu experimental freak-outs to classics like “Careful”, “Not Too Amused” and “Mind Reader.” I really wanted to hear “Beat” off the new record but hey, it can’t always be perfect right? The band was on the verge of falling apart at times but this was all part of the fun and just when I thought the wheels were close to falling off they would reign it in and carry on. True Hardcore.
The highlight of the night came after Lowenstein started busting the club’s balls for having a later show that in turn made sure their set had a strict end point. Lou then went up to the mic and muttered “Freed Pig” before counting off and ripping into the infamous Mascis humbling lead-off track from their 1991 masterpiece III. It was a re-energized version played with an aggression that came off almost graceful. They sounded better than ever and at that moment were the only music that mattered. As soon as the last note degraded I recognized the opening chords of “Willing To Wait” being strummed and I was shocked. Shocked that Lou was pulling out one of his most delicate and minimal slow songs directly after such a rock out. I felt ashamed of myself as soon as the chorus exploded with Lou and Jason both harmonizing the “But ohhhhh when I saw you again” line over Bob’s killer cymbal crashes and their mutually distorted bass and guitar. That one hit me like a punch to the chest and I walked out of the venue dazed. I felt like I’d just fallen in love all over again and come to think of it, I guess I did. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic. What can ya’ do?
Photo courtesy of: http://www.gregcphotography.com/
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