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Sebadoh played at Neumos on Saturday, February 12th, 2011. Photo by Laura Musselman.
Sebadoh

Quasi

Lovesick Empire

Neumos

Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011

If there's been

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Sebadoh Holds an Annual Bakesale at Neumos

sebadoooooooh.jpg
Sebadoh played at Neumos on Saturday, February 12th, 2011. Photo by Laura Musselman.
Sebadoh

Quasi

Lovesick Empire

Neumos

Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011

If there's been a recent trend in indie rock (aside from every band having a floor tom for their singers to pound on), it's been the reuniting of the Godfathers of the '90s (Guided By Voices, Pavement, and recently Archers of Loaf) or the pure celebration of the works of the early- to mid-90's. Although Sebadoh never technically broke up, they've taken a backseat to the band that spurred the formation of Sebadoh in the first place: Dinosaur Jr., who kicked Sebadoh singer Lou Barlow out in less-than-cordial fashion in the late '80s. "We're touring to support our new T-shirt," joked Barlow after a few songs of warm-up to the midsized crowd at Neumos.

In reality, Sebadoh recently joined the nostalgia bandwagon, playing a set list dominated by 1994's Bakesale (soon to be reissued in an expanded edition by Sub Pop) and 1996's Harmacy. Barlow, Jason Loewenstein, and drummer Bob D'Amico took a few songs to warm up to the crowd and their own material, but once Loewenstein took over the microphone with "Shit Soup," Sebadoh were fully devoted to their seasick, lovelorn odes to dysfunctional relationships (just in time for Valentine's Day!). Bands with two fully functioning songwriters always come off a little fresher than a singularly fronted band, and Sebadoh comes off as an almost-polarizing two-headed beast. Barlow's songs tend to fall more in melodic, sappy, AOR-friendly territory, but watching him flail around during Loewenstein's manic, restless songs showed you that old punk rocker is still in there (and aging quite nicely, thank you). Working off of a suggestive set list from Loewenstein's iPhone, Sebadoh played nearly two solid hours of exhausting, emotional songs that have aged well, and which have ended up as some of the most influential and confessional pre-emo of the mid-'90s.

Portland's Quasi was sandwiched in the middle of the bill with a set that had both equally brilliant moments and a bit more mundane, rambling ones. Singer Sam Coomes has finally stepped out from behind his trademark organ to do some guitar shredding (and '70s-esque boogieing) on material from their newest LP (American Gong), but Coomes' spastic personality blended into the background quite a bit behind drummer Janet Weiss. Weiss is the most propellant and magnetic part of the band, and her effortless Keith Moon-esque drum domination was by far the most interesting part of the band's set.

Seattle's Lovesick Empire opened the show with a strong, dynamic set that paid plenty of tribute to the darker, more emotional side of the '90s, with singer Alicia Amiri channeling PJ Harvey and the band baring their teeth through some post-millennial shoegazey grunge. Spacious and moody while still being focused and confrontational, Lovesick Empire was an awesome start to the night.

Sebadoh set list:

On Fire

Dreams

Too Pure

Soul and Fire

Shit Soup

Mind Reader

Love to Fight

?

Magnets Coil

Ocean

Skull

Rebound

License to Confuse

Dramamine

Nothing Like You

Crystal Gypsy

Careful

Beauty of the Ride

Not a Friend

Together or Alone

?

?

Give Up

?

Brand New Love

(Encore)

Worst Thing

Not Too Amused

Willing to Wait

 
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