Sebadoh : The Tour To Promote The $20 T-Shirt Larimer Lounge: Feb. 15, 2011

As we walked out of Larimer Lounge last night, Lou Barlow was at the merch booth hawking Sebadoh 2011 t-shirts.  He managed to get back there from the stage in a matter of seconds, just like he promised he would.  This was supposed to be a tour supporting the reissued Bakesale and Harmacy albums, but evidently Sub Pop did not feel they needed to be reissued, so Sebadoh is now on their ‘new t-shirt tour‘.  The t-shirts are $20 each, the most expensive Sebadoh t-shirt ever sold, but Lou doesn’t feel bad about that; he has 2 kids to feed.  Announcing things like this from the stage before going on a tirade about how the label fucked up the video and marketing for Willing To Wait, a song that lost out to some other shitty band to be the Ross and Rachael break-up song on Friends, might seem a little desperate or pathetic, but it did not come across that way at all.  Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein are still just a couple kids pissed off at the system and trying to do it on their own.  Well, technically they arn’t kids anymore, but don’t tell them that.  The onstage banter would have been entertaining even if their music hadn’t stood the test of time, but luckily the banter was just gravy…this music hasn’t only stood the test of time, it sounds better than the majority of lo-fi rock being released today.

In the mid-90’s I was on my way out of the metal scene and pretty obsessed with old school punk. I had just discovered Minor Threat, Black Flag and Misfits and was listening to new albums from Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords to compliment my history lessons.  Pavement bored me.  Dinosaur Jr. were alright.  I hadn’t even heard of Archers or GBV at that point.  Fugazi were amazing, but they weren’t really associated with this lo-fi, slacker crew.  Then one day in ’95 I picked up Sebadoh‘s Rebound CD-single.  I had no clue this was Lou Barlow‘s band.  I knew nothing about them.  But the acoustic version of Magnet’s Coil became my favorite song that year.  I went back and bought Bakesale based on that single and picked up Harmacy when it came out the next year.  That single and those two albums were the only exposure I had to Sebadoh in the 90’s, it wasn’t until years later I went back and spent time with III and the the rest of the back catalogue.  So the fact that last night’s performance was 90% Bakesale and Harmacy was a dream come true.

Sebadoh are on the road right now because they want to make money.  I don’t think they would deny this and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.  Pavement sold out shows at Central Park a year in advance, Dinosaur Jr. released one of their best albums in well over a decade just a couple years ago and scores of bands from that era have come out of hibernation and found an audience waiting.  Sebadoh deserves a piece of this, a bigger piece than they are receiving.  Larimer Lounge is one of the smallest venues in Denver.  It’s essentially a bar with a makeshift stage and it wasn’t even sold out.  Sure, Pavement‘s show was downgraded from the 1st Bank Center to the Ogden, but for my money, I would take Sebadoh over Pavement any day of the week. (on a sidenote, this is awesome for fans…seeing this band at one of my favorite venues, in such an intimate setting, without being too crowded was amazing)

The small venue and light crowd did nothing to slow Lou, Jason and new drummer, Bob, down.  They might be out here to cash-in on this 90’s revival, but they are working hard and having fun doing it!   They learned 30 songs for this tour and they tore through almost every one of them, Lou and Jason switching up vocal duties every 5 song or so. With a lot of bands, onstage banter can mess with the flow of the show, but with Sebadoh it’s a necessity.  The show wouldn’t be the same without it.  “all this preparation for a 30-sec song”, “ready?  uh, what song are we playing?” and at one point when Lou whispered something in Jason‘s ear, an audience member yelled out “there’s no secrets here!” to which Jason replied “when the secret is what the next song is going to be, you need to allow secrets”Jason also had fun with a girl standing to the side of the stage that was yelling for more vocal, “the vocal comes out of the PA, see, there and there, you might want to stand in front of the PA if you want to hear me”.  But the best line of the night came when someone yelled out a Dinosaur Jr. request…it was Lou this time, “Wow, that’s the first Dinosaur Jr. request of tour, it’s really good to get back to sole good ole disrespect…no I mean it, I love it!” Comments like this might come across as, uh, dickish?…but believe me when I say they were said with respect and humour throughout the show.

Fighting with the record company to get their albums reissued, working their own merch booth, playing small venues with shitty little stages…this all might seem like a lot of bullshit for a band that helped define indie rock 20 years ago, but it’s also fitting.  It’s good to see Sebadoh have stayed true to what Lou started out to achieve and they are still doing it so well.  29 songs over 2 hours and left us wanting more.  Sure, more money and recognition would be nice, but as long people buy t-shirts to feed Lou‘s kids, I think all will work out in the end.

Setlist (links for video):
On Fire
Too Pure
Shit Soup
Mind Reader
Got It
Love To Fight
Drag Down
Magnet’s Coil
License To Confuse
Drama Mine
Nothing Like You
Crystal Gypsy
Beauty of the Ride
Not A Friend
Together Or Alone
Forced To Love
Give Up
Junk Bonds
New Worship
Brand New Love
Not Too Amused
Willing To Wait

  1 comment for “Sebadoh : The Tour To Promote The $20 T-Shirt Larimer Lounge: Feb. 15, 2011

  1. DLabbs
    February 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

    NICE posting and summary of the show! Great time for sure! I’m still laughing to myself a bit about some of the banter – those guys are HILARIOUS!!!!

Comments are closed.