With Jacuzzi Boys and Plains
Grand Central, Miami
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Better Than: "Brand New Love" on a boat.
Less than 24 hours before setting sail aboard the first-ever Weezer Cruise,
totally essential alternative trio Sebadoh decided to visit Downtown Miami for an almost never-ending evening of sensitively raging indie rock.
At approximately 10:35 p.m., the proto-emo threesome stepped onto Grand Central's stage. And despite the fact that founder and leader Lou Barlow will be spending the next 84 hours or so riding the high seas, raiding the all-you-can-eat buffet, and not sleeping while "playing solo ... playing with Dino ... and playing with Sebadoh," he and bandmates Jason Loewenstein and Bob D'Amico riffed right up till 37 minutes past midnight.
The indie tuneage started, though, with waves of guitar fuzz and yearning urgency from Miami four-piece Plains, who cruised through ten cuts including "Innovator," "Black Feeling," and "Stains."
Tapping their toes, nodding their mushroom-cutted heads, tugging at their sweater sleeves -- the crowd's out-of-town 30-somethings were visibly digging the vibes coming off frontman Michael McGinnis and fellow Plains men Jorge Gonzalez Graupera, Max Johnston, and Jorge Rubiera.
Yes, in addition to scoring a spot on ABC's Revenge, this band is Weezer Cruiser approved!
A beer and a half later, the Jacuzzi Boys surfed onto the stage.
Dressed in sand-colored pants, a tropical button-up, and a jean jacket, singer Gabriel Alcala called the crowd a bunch of "sweethearts" and thanked everyone "sooo much" while drummer Diego Monasterios and bassist Danny Gonzalez grinned and giggled.
By Jacuzzi standards, the Grand Central scene was pretty tame -- especially compared with the experience of perspiring till we almost died during the August's insanely sweaty record-release party at Churchill's Pub.
But this was a relaxed older audience. And for their part, the Boys were rad. They've spent the last twelve months busting ass and Glazin' across the nation. And last night, Gabriel, Diego, and Danny just might've ripped "Dock," "Island Ave.," and "Libras & Zebras" more righteously than ever.
Obviously, all that road work has left their shredding skills as sharp as razor coral.
After just 20 short minutes, Lou, Jason, and Bob slouched out, rigged up their instruments, and greeted the couple of hundred cruisers, rockers, and other local scenesters who'd refused to miss this exceedingly rare Sebadoh show in the subtropics.
"The last and only time we played Miami was at this record store, Yesterday and Today," Barlow recalled as the vinyl junkies cheered. "They had an amazing jukebox."
Always cautious and considerate, Lou also wanted us to know that Sebadoh might be a little rusty. "We haven't played in two, three months," he shrugged. "But we're going on a cruise with Weezer tomorrow. So this is our practice run."
And introducing the set's opening song, 1996's "Too Pure," Barlow joked, "We're gonna start with something mellow, then work our way to something good."
After sailing through a mini-set of his mid-'90s Sebadoh classics (Harmacy's "On Fire" and "Ocean" spliced with Bakesale's "Skull" and "Rebound"), Barlow traded places with the band's other songwriter, Jason Loewenstein.
Yeah ... They literally unslung their instruments, switched sides, and swapped guitar for bass while Loewenstein seized the mike for some "Shit Soup," and shots at "Mind Reader," "Got It," and "Love to Fight."
And that's how the rest of Sebadoh's set was structured too. There were several cycles of mini-sets and switching sides as Lou's "Dreams" and "License to Confuse" gave way to Jason's "Sister" and "Bird in the Hand," then Barlow's "Soul and Fire" led into Loewenstein's "Give Up" before shifting back to Barlow for "Brand New Love."
The end result: An epic (though totally understated) two-hour trip through Sebadoh's indie-rock songbook, now spanning a quarter fucking century and nine albums.
It was sorta insane. But in all, Lou and crew sensitively rage through 27 songs. And Barlow even laughed, asking, "Should we really go through with this whole setlist?," and then teasing, "Aren't you guys sick of us?"
No, Lou. We love you.
The Crowd: Grunge survivors, 30-something college sweethearts (now married) in their best cruisin' clothes, and elegantly aging indie guys in thick-rimmed designer eyeglasses and fancy Aasics. Plus, local noise celeb Rat Bastard, one-third of The Jameses, and the rest of Miami's miniscule community of about 99 indie-rock fans, AKA "Townies," as Barlow likes to call them.
-"Poor Little Space Monkey"
-"It's All Right Now"
-"End of the World"
Jacuzzi Boys' Setlist
-"Space Cake '85"
-"Planet of the Dreamers"
-"Libras & Zebras"
-"Love to Fight"
-"The Freed Pig"
-"License to Confuse"
-"Bird in the Hand"
-"Soul and Fire"
-"Two Years, Two Days"
-"Beauty of the Ride"
-"Brand New Love"