Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shellac - Middle East Cambridge, MA September 6, 2010

The Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA
Sunday, September 6, 2010

Support - Helen Money

Okay, so folks have a "bucket list" of stuff they want to do before they "shuffle off this mortal coil". You know, see the Pyramids, or swim in all the major oceans..whatever..its cool stuff. Well I created one for bands that I wanted to see. Granted there are always "new" bands that come along I'd like to see but there are always those bands you *love* but just have missed for whatever reason. Well I finally got to see Shellac and that was one more I could check off. (read the link as to why it took so long..band doesn't tour too much!).

Upon arrival the sold out, and hot middle east was a buzz as cellist Helen Money was on stage. I caught about 2-3 songs of hers. It was okay, but the audience was still pretty chatty. Difficult for a lone cello to quiet a room full of people down. It was packed and when Money was done I eased my way down the side of the venue towards the front. Being taller I try to get off to the side some, to ease the pain of those behind me. I ended up about 15 feet back a little off to the right, but there was no person as tall, or taller than me in front of me.

The band are their own roadies so they were on stage setting up the gear. The trio of Steve Albini (guitar/vocals), Todd Trainer on drums and bassist/vocalist Bob Weston lined themselves close to the edge of the stage, set up their gear and left for about 10 minutes.

Walking out decked in a "Wolf Shirt" Albini and Trainer locked in to a quick buzzy groove. The amps used by Weston and Trainer have these "huge" simple looking heads (the tops of the amps) and the sounds he can get out of these amps are just awesome. You've never heard a buzz on a guitar like this, anywhere. The audience was electric, jumping up and down, singing along and shouting requests. After a few tunes the band stopped and Weston began the first part of one of the things the band is known for a "short question and answer". People asked about the gear, (some complex wire answer was given) if they were having fun (they were) and when is there going to be a new record (not sure, playing new songs tonight).

The pace as good all evening. Not a lot of lulls. There were a few more question and answer sessions and at one point Albini took the audience to task regarding the "song requests" that were prominent all night. In a nutshell Albini said "We don't care what you want to hear

At that point the audience mellowed some with the constant shouts. One person yelled during a Q+A "Can you hurry up I need to get home and go to bed".

As the show ended the band cleared the gear and then Albini and Weston began to sell shirts from the front of the stage, something I thought was cool. It allowed the band/fan interaction, even it it was brief. I sorta wanted a shirt, but it was 'black on black' and that is not something i usually rush to buy. Oh well, I like to support the bands I like.

The band tours so sporadically who knows what I'll be doing in the maybe 5+ years it will take them to come back, but I'd love to see them again.

read about the band on wiki, read even more on their site (label site) here and as always myspace.

There were two decent articles in the Boston Phoenix this week re: the band. One was an overview (about the band touring etc) here and then the full interview that was sampled for can be found here.



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