I know it's the way of
the world, but it's still a bit weird to see indie icons Superchunk (in 1989
the quartet's bassist, Laura Ballance, and singer-guitarist, Mac McCaughan,
founded indie label Merge) playing a show put on by the Vans shoe company. Then
again, I'm a long-time customer of both band and brand, so I guess the market
has already seen my endorsements.
And anyway, it
only took about 30 seconds on Thursday night at the House of Vans in Brooklyn for thoughts of commerce and credibility to be
crushed into nothingness by Superchunk's glorious, buoyant music. Opening with
their signature song, 1990's "Slack Mother-," (You can guess the last two
syllables), the veteran rockers tore through just over an hour of propulsive,
punkish guitar-pop. Impressively for a band that's been around for a minute,
the material from 2010's Majesty
Shredding was the strongest. Live, you can feel how that album's tightly
melodic songs like "My Gap Feels Weird," "Crossed Wires," and "Digging For
Something," are constructed as a series of launch pads, rocketing off on a Jon
Wurster drum fill, raggedly soaring McCaughan solo, or crunching middle eight,
always in restless search of the next kick.
thrill, though, came with the evening's final song, a cover of the Misfits'
undead punk classic, "Where Eagles Dare." For it, the band was joined by Off!
hardcore legend Keith Morris, formerly of the Circle Jerks and Black Flag.
Superchunk blasted, Morris shouted, a couple kids crowd-surfed, and everyone
went home happy and, presumably, more brand-aware of Vans. Such are shows these
days, but the real takeaway was that a Superchunk show-vibrant, vital,
rocking-is the way more of them should be.
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