Influential Indie-rockers ‘Sebadoh’ bring Headliners back to the Nineties

L to R: Headliners 'Sebadoh', British up-and-comers 'Mazes' and Louisville's own 'Deer Meet'.

30-somethings who’ve been fans from the start and the younger set alike packed the floor of Headliner’s Music Hall this past Friday for the triumphant return of the reassembled and recently re-released nineties indie -band Sebadoh. The three piece of Bob D’Amico, Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein let loose upon their adopted hometown a flurry of jams in exactly the same abrasively DIY, high intensity, angst-fueling fashion for which they’ve been crowned kings.

Originally formed in 1986, it was the explosive independent music scene of the early nineties (of which Louisville was a vibrant and low-rent participant) that saw Sebadoh turn many a head with the groundbreaking sound that assured their place amongst a intimidatingly innovative generation. What came to be termed as ‘lo-fi’ was a latter form of punk rock drenched in purposefully fuzzy mayhem with washed-vocals and gleefully haphazard aesthetics, and it’s a tribute to the musicianship and lasting appeal of Sebadoh that even to a post-2000 ear spoiled by high fidelity electro-laced indie pop, that this material still rings as enjoyable, relevant and irreverent as ever.

A deluxe version the band's seminal album 'Bakesale' (1994) was recently released by Sub Pop Records.

Despite a lengthy hiatus from Sebadoh after the release of a final album in 1999, the outfit’s members have kept themselves exceedingly busy producing records, recording solo efforts and devoting more attention to other side projects, but with the band’s reunion in 2007 and now Sub Pop Records’ recent deluxe re-release of their ‘best of an era’ contending album Bakesale, Sebadoh is back to the tip-top of of the game, and if the near-ecstatic faces of both the performers and their audience from Friday night’s show were any indication, these guys are having a blast. As Sebadoh‘s current tour is organized around the Bakesale re-release, it was only natural  that the evening’s set borrowed heavily from the 1994 track-list, and classic tunes like ‘Magnet’s Coil’ and the more somber ‘Not a Friend’ most definitely did not disappoint. Described by the music website Pitchfork Media as Sebadoh at its, “most focused and purely pleasurable,” Bakesale and its 15 original tracks exist as a blistering amalgamation of its earlier, more experimental efforts, tempered by the additional polish of later works.

WFPK (and their 'Weekly Feed' host Kyle Meredith) present... well, just about everything.

Being just one (albeit a great one) of what is becoming an increasingly mind-boggling number of local music events sponsored in part by Louisville’s WFPK 91.9 FM, FPK’s Kyle Meredith once again served as MC for the evening (as he has at September’s Of Montreal concert at Headliners and others), providing introductions for Sebadoh as well as Mazes and Deer Meet before them. For their part, both of the opening bands served as entertaining and surprisingly appropriate lead-ins to the main act, with local jammers Deer Meet driving hard in the finest tradition of ‘garage’  and Mazes occupying a corner of today’s trendy indie sound that is decidedly polished and yet largely lacking any electronic frills, and thus most directly delineated from the proto-lo-fi of Sebadoh fame.

With Sebadoh and other notable shows having already graced the Derby City’s jam-packed fall calendar, music fans have had a lot for which to be thankful. Add to that additional appearances by The Sea and Cake, VHS or Beta and The Pixies in just the next couple of weeks alone and it’s clear things are poised to get a wee-bit crazier still.

Additional information on select upcoming shows in Louisville can be found via WFPK and Headliners Music Hall.

More articles by me here.

Chris Ritter <<<<<< <<<<<<