The Corner Hotel
Any gig that begins with the support band’s drummer escaping Houdini-style from a straightjacket suspended above the stage and doesn’t steal thunder from the headliners is going to be a) different and b) good. Dane Certificate, drummer and escapologist moves from the straightjacket to the drums and the unholy noise of Adam Harding & Friends erupts gloriously. Thrashing the hell out of his kit as Harding and Steve Patrick send slices of distortion through the air like a chainsaw through ice, Harding’s baritone guitar takes a beating as he recreates the sound of a Tumbleweed EP being played very loudly on a dying cassette player. Lou Barlow joins for last song Redrum and concludes a perfectly chosen support set.
“A show of hands…how many were here last night?” asks Barlow keenly surveying us. “Not many of you…damn, I was hoping to slack off,” he grins. Slack is a perfect word to describe tonight’s set, beset with lost capos and plectrums, a busted snare drum and copious rambling banter to cover for it. It’s perfect. Sebadoh shouldn’t be tight and unfussy, and we get a set that contrasts gloriously with the previous night’s bracing rush through the past. Bursting to life with Too Pure, Barlow’s voice evokes a warm rush of familiarity like a welcome phone call from a long lost friend. On Fire follows and highlights his piercing guitar tones; as if he borrowed it from Neil Young and couldn’t change the settings. Ocean and Skull become instant highlights and gradually the nearly sold-out venue unfolds their arms and moves from calmly appreciative to excited and not afraid to heckle. On the Rebound and Magnet Coil immolate brightly as songs follow in short bursts of fury as Barlow and bassist Jason Loewenstein (who still looks 25) swap instruments and Loewenstein’s fiercer fodder and dirtier guitar gets drummer Bob D’Amico even more unhinged.
'Lets get this Monday night momentum going' he drawls ironically before launching like Evil Knievel into S. Soup, with its ‘crazy people are right on’ hook, causing D’Amico to break his snare. The ensuing 10-minute gap allows Barlow to wax lyrical about his love for Eddy Current ("it's Brendan's birthday today y'know"), Klimt ('"you should definitely go see the Vienna exhibition, it's great") and his hatred of Americana ("fucking middle class white guys plucking on banjos, is there even such a thing as Australiana? God I hope not."). Part way through Not Too Amused D’Amico returns and the set reawakens. Careful, Sister, Dreams and a bitter Drama Mine punctuate a set full of highlights before Willing to Wait and a story of its near inclusion in Friends closes what must rate as one of the gigs of the year; all 32 songs of it.