Thursday, September 21, 2006

once i had my heroes

good lord, my ears will be ringing for a week thanks to mission of burma and 50 foot wave. first of all, i don't know under what rock i've been living, but 50 foot wave are kristin hersh's band. yes, the kristin hersh of throwing muses. who knew? i didn't.

50 foot wave were in some ways a bit like the muses, but louder. i know they played at least one old muses song, if not more. the new songs sounded like kristin hersh songs, but with a heavy dose of old-school angsty post-punk. i've always known she can play a mean guitar (listen to the chord and tempo changes on any muses song), but she was doing it fast and loud too. just as impressive were her full-throated primal punk-rock screams. this from a woman with a 15-year old son. mindblowing.

the burma set was loud. LOUD. LOUD. and energetic. for old guys, they can still bring it and they looked like they were having a blast. roger miller's starting to look a bit like dutch actor jeroen krabbe...odd resemblence.

it was an interesting crowd -- some were clearly MoB fans from way back, before the break-up. some, like me, came of age after the break-up but got to know of them when they still mattered as an arty post-punk band and as a result probably haven't seen them live. and then there were clearly some people who looked like they might not have been born when MoB started back in 1979. it was a crowd in the know, as all the old stuff got good response, not just "revolver". roger's tour diary on pitchfork is a good read.

i'm always a bit leery of seeing bands like this...those gone for a while, have reemerged and playing live again -- will there be anything in the tank? is there still inspiration to draw upon? the leeriness comes from having seen a few 60s bands on reuinion tours (don't ask why, it just happened), especially when it was one guy with hired sidekicks. always felt forced and by-the-numbers, seemed as canned as a vegas revue.

then a number of years ago i saw a buzzcocks show in NYC (albeit with the smiths rhythm section). still, they were amazing, and i felt then like a part of my musical upbringing had been properly put to rest, that i'd seen a "heritage" band, a band i had to see, who came back and did it right. same with MoB last night. no disappointment at all -- i can say that i've seen one of the more influential american bands of the punk/post-punk era playing at a high level, full of inspiration, no matter that it was 23 years after they more or less broke up.

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