Sebadoh w/ Richard Buckner and Colour Revolt at Off Broadway - Sat. 4/2/11 [Preview]
For my spring break from college in 1994 I didn't go off gallivanting anywhere warm like Florida or South Texas. I called a childhood best friend then attending the University of Kansas and planned a trip to visit for a week. While he attended classes I hung out. Later, he and I would haunt the record stores of Mass Ave, flirt with waitresses and drink beer while watching college hoops.
On my way to Lawrence, KS that spring I booked a hotel room for one in Columbia, MO and bought tickets to see Sebadoh at The Blue Note. Then touring for their recent release, Bakesale, the band played a passionate set of indie rock that was as tight as it was loose; perfect for my early 20s self fully immersed in alternative rock. After that night, I went from casual Sebadoh fan to completest collector finding all of their main releases and tracking down hard to find singles on 7", import LP's, side projects, etc. Getting back to the room late that night and crashing, I awoke the next morning to several inches of snow covering the landscape. Checking out of the hotel, I hopped in my '68 Camaro convertible to finish the drive down I-70 to Lawrence to freeze my ass off for the rest of the week.
Filled to the brim with 15 songs of indie rock power, Bakesale, contained some of Sebadoh's best songs on record and one of the great album covers of the decade. The band abandoned the bedroom studio with recordings straight to cassette ethos for a studio treatment that led to a breakout album; their second with seminal '90's label Sub Pop. The follow-up, Harmacy, while slightly less gritty than its predecessor, still produced great indie rock songs by a band at their creative peak.
Currently touring 17 years later during the same late winter/early spring in support of their upcoming deluxe edition of their classic 1994 album Bakesale (due June 14 from Sub Pop), Sebadoh bring their lo-fi indie rock to the red velvet draped stage at Off Broadway in St. Louis tomorrow night with openers Richard Buckner and Colour Revolt.
This trip down memory lane is nothing new for the band. Following the lead of their '90s indie-rock contemporaries, Pavement, Sebadoh began a deluxe edition reissue program a few years ago. A deluxe edition of their 1991 album III was released in 2008 along with The Freed Weed and Bubble and Scrape (1993). Expect a similar deluxe edition treatment later this year for Harmacy (Sub Pop, 1996). However, the band has no plans to repackage their 1999 album The Sebadoh at this time. All of those demos, B-sides, rarities and live tracks that I spent hours and multiple trips to the record stores to collect can be yours (you lucky bastards) in one nice neat package.
To commemorate those initial reissues, a tour ensued with the "classic" Sebadoh lineup of Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and Eric Gaffney promoting the expanded releases to fans in the United States in 2007 and in the United Kingdom/Europe in 2008. Currently on the second leg of their latest tour, Barlow and Loewenstein started playing shows this time around on the West Coast to rave reviews. Check out a four-part series from Backstage Rider recounting shows from February here: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Taking the place of Eric Gaffney on drums this tour (Bakesale era drummer Bob Fay was fired from the band during the making of their last studio album in 1999) is Bob D’Amico, who has played with Lowenstein in both Circle of Buzzards and Fiery Furnaces. According to all reports the band has never sounded better which gives props to good drummers all over the world that you really can make a difference.
Recently, Barlow sounded upbeat about the prospects of new material from the band who haven't released an album of original material since 1999's The Sebadoh. Barlow told Seth Graves from the Nashville Scenethat given what's transpired on this tour and with the reunion records of his former band, Dinosaur Jr., he wouldn't rule out an album of new material from Sebadoh.
"[A new record] seems like it would be possible," Barlow says. "The thing that really keeps us apart is the 3,000 miles between Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles, California. We'd really have to make a very concerted and deliberate effort to get together and write the songs."
If you fall solidly in the Gen X demographic, for one night you can go back to the '90s remind yourself what the music of that era meant to you as a listener. If you're a bit younger please come get a proper education in a band that pioneered the indie rock ethic. Your learning will serve you well. Get tickets now though, according to the Off Broadway twitter feed you don't to be left out on the sidewalk. Let's just hope it doesen't snow.
Here's a video of Sebadoh performing "Rebound" and "Crystal Gypsy" on Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien promoting their album Bakesale circa 1994.
Playing before Sebadoh is Richard Buckner, an important Americana performer in his own right. Here he is performing at the 88.1 KDHX studios in St. Louis.
Opening the show is Colour Revolt. Here's a video of their song "Moses of the South" recorded for a Paste Magazine session.