Oh, hey, the Meat Puppets were here Sunday night! If you were longing for some 90s alt-rock guitar heroics, the reunited brothers Kirkwood gave you a couple hours' worth in a loose, confident set. Casual readers probably know the Arizona band from their songs on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged appearance, if not their 1994 major-label album, Too High to Die. Their 1980s albums for the iconic label SST, though-- particularly 1983's II and 1985's Up on the Sun-- became touchstones for a generation of indie rockers, expanding past hardcore punk to country and beyond. Drugs, prison time, and lineup changes dimmed their legacy some by the turn of the millennium, but Cris and Curt Kirkwood reunited for some shows with new drummer Ted Marcus starting in 2007. That's the lineup that came to the Vaudeville Mews the other night, for a near sell-out crowd of really tall people. The material from new album Sewn Together, stripped of its bland production, sounded rawer and more entertaining, and hits like "Backwater", "Plateau", and "Lake of Fire" were all present and accounted for. Having never seen them before, I guess my biggest surprise was how jammy they turned out to be. The dividing line between the true fans and the people who had to get up early the next morning must've been the encore, which veered into an extended, jam-band-worthy solo as I watched a few people headed toward the exits. "Not too much more, too much more."
Local trio Why Make Clocks, who I've been meaning and failing to see for a while, opened, and their earnest, guitar-driven sound was a pretty good match for the evening, evoking both classic rockers like Crazy Horse and some of the alternative bands they influenced two decades later.
I missed second-billed band Squid Boy because I've been fighting a sinus bug and needed some fresh air. That's also my excuse for posting this so late.
And now to make myself really unpopular... How about them Wildcats?