Sebadoh - Crescent Ballroom - 8/9/2013
There was a lot of love in the air at Crescent Ballroom last night as indie rock legends Sebadoh played their first area show in a while. A lot of the feely-good vibes came as much from the stage as they did from the crowd that was loaded with obviously longtime fans.
People were calling out tunes they wanted to hear from the minute the band took the stage. Lou Barlow, who was recently in town playing bass with his other band, Dinosaur Jr., made a funny reference to his kid being at a One Direction concert as Sebadoh was just about to rock Phoenix right before busting into "Magnet's Coil" from 1994's Bakesale. And then it was on. All the Sebadoh goodness that's been happening for more than 25 years oozed out for the next two hours.
Driving, crunchy, noisy guitars, vocal (and guitar/bass) switch-offs between Barlow and longtime bandmate Jason Loewenstein, and a little of that familiar chaotic air that extends a sense of anything-could-happen.
Lou continued on vocals and guitar for a few more songs, including "Skull" and Rebound," also from Bakesale, and "Ocean" from the 1996 release, Harmacy, before taking over the bass, giving the vocal and guitar reigns to Loewenstein.
Trading instruments mid-set, for some bands, just never fucking works; it can come off as annoying or distracting. But with Sebadoh, it's been one of the factors that is essential to their engagement. Where Barlow is ache-y, Loewenstein is angry.
You get aggression and angst all over the place with these guys, but the shift in deliveries makes it a well-rounded experience. Now at the helm, Jason led the trio through a few songs--predominately more offerings from Bakesale, including "Drama Mine," "S. Soup" and "Careful," gritty and vicious, in the best ways.
Together, Barlow and Loewenstein are mental mayhem magic.