Sunday, March 4th, 2012
I never went to my high school's 10-year reunion. I wanted to--at 28,>"/>
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
I never went to my high school's 10-year reunion. I wanted to--at 28, I had the sweet life and I was ready to rub it in some jerk faces--but my invitation must've got lost in the mail. Instead, I've spent the last few years on the '90s indie rock reunion circuit: Pavement, Pixes, Slint, My Bloody Valentine, the Dismemberment Plan (with Neutral Milk Hotel and Pulp on the horizon). Probably for the best: I did okay in high school, but punk and indie rock shows are where I really felt at home, where I found my friends and figured out who I was and all that claptrap. And unlike high school, I kept up with indie rock. So the old faces were familiar at last night's "secret" 764-Hero reunion show at the Lo-Fi--their first hometown performance in 10 years, in preparation for a week in Japan--the feeling was fond, and the show was perfectly fucking transportive. You felt angsty and awkward and 18 again; you rocked out about it.
The band took the stage with the original line-up of singer/guitarist John Atkins (more recently of Magic Magicians, the Can't See) and drummer Polly Johnsons but not their first bassist James Bertram (also of Lync, Red Stars Theory). They played 13 songs, hitting almost every high note of their catalogue (the only glaring omission was Get Here and Stay's "Ottawa Dropout"--and the infinitely off-chance that they were hiding old tour-mates Modest Mouse backstage for a rendition of 14-minute collaboration "Whenever You See Fit"). Atkins cracked a couple jokes from the stage, but he also sincerely acknowledged, "a lot of great people in this room, thanks so much for coming."
10 years on, the band's songs still killed, and, thanks to the recent waves of '90s rock nostalgia, sounded as timely as ever. The rhythm section kicked (I always thought Bertram/Johnson were the best indie rock rhythm section around Seattle back then this side of Modest Mouse), and Atkins bolstered his emotive warble with powerfully ragged guitar parts. There weren't really any low points to the set, but some highlights: the downpouring chorus of "High School Poetry," Atkins' big headbanging guitar moves on "Get Alone," Johnson's offbeat drum fills on "Weekends of Sound" (maybe like a 5/8 on the cymbals or something--I don't know), the sad chorus of "Long Way Home," the almost solo intro of "Calendar Pages," the rhythmic build-up of set-closer "Loaded Painted Red."
Better than (fucking) high school poetry, way better than a high school reunion. Now, when's the John and Spencer Booze explosion getting back together?
1. "Without Fire"
2. "Blue Light"
3. "High School Poetry"
5. "Get Alone"
6. "Terrified of Flight"
7. "The Long Arm of the Law"
8. "Weekends of Sound"
9. "You Were the Long Way Home"
11. "You Were a Party"
12. "Calendar Pages"
13. "Loaded Painted Red"