Sebadoh @ Neumos 02/12/11

February 12, 2011

Walking into Neumos and on up to the upstairs bar, I observed the crowd who'd come out for tonight's show. Although not sold out, it was clear the band still carries a strong draw as for the most part the room was filled. Looking down on them was like seeing a snapshot of 1994 but with the addition of a few pounds to each figure, lines to each face, a few gray hairs poking though indie beards.

Right out of the gate the set is marred with tuning problems, as new bass strings continue to stretch back, giving songs that normally would have won over the casual listener with their subdued welcomeness an unpleasant dissonance just enough to throw the vibe. This continues through the fourth song until the string finally snaps from tension halting the set and prompting a solo version of "Soul and Fire". After restringing Lou Barlow chimes in that he "might have changed the strings the wrong way". "Just that one...the other three are great!" adds second full time member Eric Gaffney.

The set takes a sudden turn when Eric and Lou swap sides of the stage as well as instruments before launching into Mind Reader, and suddenly the set which started off rocky came into its own finding pace, rhythm and energy all at once.

Watching Sebadoh play was interesting for a few reasons, but the most stand out one was that they are a perfect display of what has changed since this station was born. The early nineties saw the flood gates open on numerous bands who's connection to fans came from relatability. They all dressed like your cousin who worked at the saw mill, they all had long hair and shitty beards. Simple lyrics, with little to no message. Just a conveyance of random thoughts culled from every day existence. Even Neumos LED light rig laid dormant for the performance. It seems now a days every band needs some sort of flashy gimmick, or a synthesizer or a message. And Sebadoh had none of that. Bass, guitar, drums. Just 3 guys on stage making music, further invoking nostalgia for ninteen ninety-whatever.

Bottom line is that Sebadoh embody everything attractive about early 90's alternative, and now that pavement are broken up again, you gotta jump at any chance you can to pretend its still 1994. So put on your best flannel and start crossing your fingers that the Pulp reunion comes to the US.