Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sebadoh, Morty and Me

Tuesday night, Sebadoh played at the Brillobox. This has been a much-anticipated show for me, in part because it was 20 years ago this month that I first saw them at the Upstage Lounge, besides the fact that I really liked the band. A group called Mazes opened up, a trio that was also into the catchy-but-noisy approach. They reminded me a little of what Pale Saints sounded like on their first album, underneath all the dreamy reverb and glitter.

Before the show Jason Loewenstein (also known as "Jake"), was milling around the room (for those who don't know, Brillobox is pretty small, upstairs where the bands play) and I talked to him for a little bit. I've met him several times when he's come to town playing with the Fiery Furnaces and he actually seemed to remember me this time. Me and guy from another band were both kind of politely geeking out while we talked and Jake seemed geniunely flattered and amused that we remembered so many details of shows and albums (like his solo album Sixes and Sevens that I talked up to the other guy).

The last time I saw Sebadoh was probably around 1997 or '98 and they took so damn long between songs that it killed the momentum. That's all changed. Now the band - which is completely by Bob D'Amico (also in the Furnaces) on drums - is tight. The only time things slowed between songs was when they either talked to the audience or when Lou Barlow and Loewenstein switched instruments.

Sebadoh's songs were always powerful because the subject matter often dealt with personal issues that I really related to, and the delivery also made it pretty real, whether it was a quiet solo Barlow song, or a loud raging one. To his credit, Loewenstein seemed to show a vulnerable but tough side on Bakesale too. Hearing those songs again all these years later, they still have the same emotional and visceral impact that they did originally, which proves the band's strength - that this wasn't just some musical drama that everyone goes through in their 20s. This is still great music that gets you right here. Hopefully that makes sense.

I went home after Sebadoh and got to bed around 1 a.m. At 5 a.m. I woke up and started writing an article on a Morton Feldman mini-festival/symposium that's happening in Pittsburgh next week. I kind of felt like that particularly yoke was around my neck for the past 10 days or so, since it took almost that long to get some interviews set up. Plus there was also the issue of getting schooled in his music before I wrote the piece. But me and Morty have completed our work.

With all that work done, I just dawdled last night. There were some things I should've done, and actually thought I would but I nodded off in front of the laptop, but this time I didn't beat myself up over it. I only four hours of sleep, so I was well within my rights. Then I hit the hay a little before midnight.

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