What started out as a simple show that tickets were purchased for months and months ago, steadily transformed into Superchunk Day! It began with a simple email from Merge Records announcing a fall tour. The onsale day came, tickets were purchased. Time passed and excitement grew when it was announced that Teenage Fanclub was opening their Northwest dates. Spirits fell when it turned out to be only those dates. Spirits rose again when the mighty Vaselines were announced as the LA openers, as well as northwest up & comers Telekinesis.
Then the whole Matador 21 party came together, and their inclusion there, (and subsequent top flight set), did nothing to dampen the ardor of the impending show. Back in California, come to find out that they've set up a string of instore appearances at indie record shops, including Origami Vinyl in Echo Park at noon, day of show. So now the whole thing has taken shape and morphed into 'Superchunk Day', originally planned as the last date of the 'Majesty Shredding' tour. Apparently, it's gone to plan and then some, as they've added another handful of dates throughout the country.
Origami: great footage of 'Everything At Once', courtesy of Prestoff2000 (YouTube)
Telekinesis belted out a set that was far more lively than their first LP would have you believe. They kept the melodies intact, but gave every song a nice loud buzz, and looked to be very happy at this particular opening gig.
Their newest EP, not coincidentally on Merge Records, was the heart of the set. I'm looking forward to their next step, as well as seeing a complete show on their own, if this is any indication...
It's been a fascinating ride for The Vaselines, who cut one album back in the '80's, broke up...found a cult following after it turned out Kurt Cobain was a huge fan, and Nirvana covered a few of their songs, which led to a reformation and a gig opening up a Nirvana UK tour.
The sparks were fanned once again when Sub Pop put out an anthology of their work, and they got it together once again for an appearance at the label's birthday party in Seattle a few years back.
Now, apparently, the time has come again...In September, a new LP, 'Sex With An X', appeared, followed by a jaunt across the states. Los Angeles was the fortuitous hookup with Superchunk, which brings us up to this evening. The set largely focused on the new record, leavened with tart doses of the back catalogue, and despite the venue only being 2/3 filled, they gave it their all.
Time has been a friend to them, and having sympathetic players with them made for the kind of show the band never got to enjoy in the past, having broken up before, in some sense, they really got going.
Superchunk celebrated their return to Los Angeles proper for the first time in many years, hitting the stage with 'Learned To Surf', (above), from this year's 'Majesty Shredding', and leaving no stone unturned, unleashing a show as full bodied and frenetic as their star turn at the Matador fest at the beginning of October.
The aforementioned 2/3 full house was still in effect for Superchunk, which seemed sad on the heels of this victory lap that saw them fully engaged and energized, and playing just as well as ever. Rarely have i seen the balcony of the Fonda closed, but it kept the crowd as tight and focused as the band, and was a testimony to a night of tough choices for the LA music fan, as Broken Social Scene was across town at the Wiltern Theater, and Scout Niblett was in town as well, along with a few other tasty choices.
Like their path thus far, Superchunk faced it with grace, and powered through a set that touched on all phases of their years, culminating with a Misfits cover that put their own distinctive stamp on the evening.
Predominate theme through the night seemed to be the staying power of the aging hipster audience that furiously pogoed away, and by the time the midnight hour passed, it became apparent that one would regret this, in the most glorious way, the next day.
(Programming Notes: The good folks at Also Ran Blog have posted recordings of both the Superchunk instore at Origami and the Superchunk set at the Fonda)