When Sub Pop released The Way of the Vaselines in 1992, I was seven years old. Needless to say, another opportunity to see the iconic band for myself, since I missed them at SP20 last year, was pretty special. The same went for the poor caged minors up on the balcony, who were leaning over as far as they dared and straining to see the stage.
The band opened with "Son of a Gun," and it bowled me over how, even though you think the band's fuzzy recordings don't do them justice, how much they really do sound more or less like their recordings. It sounds silly, but there are plenty of bands like this whose recordings do not much resemble their live presence. This was not the case for the Vaselines, except when it came to the lyrics. The lyrics were much harder to understand. "We've come up in the world, haven't we," Frances quipped after "Son of a Gun." "We've got toilet paper with our faces on it."
After three songs, the band surprised us all with a bouncy new song, the refrain of which was: "We got nothing to say, but we're saying it anyway." And I had to wonder: were they trying to tell us something? If there was a message there, the crowd didn't get it. From the young'uns upstairs to the old salts down below, it was clear: as long as the Vaselines keep putting out music, there will be an audience to devour it. They played another new song later, though I liked the first better; here's hoping that means a new album's in the works and the band will be returning to the area before too long.Before playing "Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam," Eugene quipped, "Jesus was a bit of a cunt, really," Eugene said. " I asked him for a bike for Christmas and what did I get? Monopoly." And I think it's safe to say that even though it is the Vaselines' song, it was still odd to hear them play it. Even though it was originally their song, the first version I ever heard was performed by Kurt Cobain, and that was probably true for all of us there except the oldest and most musically savvy of the audience. It was great to see, but it also brought back a lot of memories. And I think it's safe to say that while the general atmosphere was one of total and utter elation, everyone calmed down for that song in a display of quiet reverence, which is a rare experience when you're at a packed Neumos show.
Not long after that, I noticed a certain presence to my right. Five feet away from me, a guy who looked suspiciously like Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords was watching the show. And after some not-so-inconspicuous maneuvering, I managed to get a good look at his face and realized that yes: I was actually standing right next to one of the most famous people ever to sign to Sub Pop Records. As it turns out, he is a lovely man who tolerated me quite politely and has always-- sorry Bret-- been my favorite Conchord.
After playing about twelve songs, the Vaselines ended with "Dying For It," and even though I'd been bouncing around like a maniac, I was disappointed that they hadn't played the bitchy ditty "You Think You're A Man." And then they came back onstage for an encore, and sure enough, they played it! Yes! I would've been satisfied if the show had ended then, but they did us one better and finished with "Dum Dum." Everyone left the venue grinning like a fool, and if you didn't make it to the show last night, I feel sorry for you. But I can at least tell you which songs they played-- or most of them, anyhow. A couple of songs are out of place, and I am also possibly wrong about one or two songs. I also may be missing a song, as I spent about two minutes freaking out over my proximity to Jemaine (insert shrill twelve-year old girl shriek here). Please chime in and feel free to correct me or tell me if I'm missing something.
Son of a Gun
The Day I Was A Horse
Rosary Job (?) I'm pretty sure they played this song, I just can't remember exactly when.
Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
Dying For It
You Think You're A Man