Circle of Buzzards - I thought this duo looked familiar and sure enough this was Jason and Bob of Sebadoh (also Fiery Furnaces for that matter) doing their take on the guitar/drums duo thing. Jason sings and switches to bass as well. I did not like this format to begin with, grew to respect it when done well, tired of seeing it done so many times unless done very well, to... well, I'm not sure anymore. But this was a 17-minute tune-up that didn't inspire much, but managed to create a nice thick appetizer with a dash of creativity. So it was fine for the first course and the portion size was right.
Sentridoh - This was Lou Barlow solo on vocals and what looked like a bass ukulele which I am not sure I have seen played before. It was an inspired choice as it allowed Lou Barlow to play his songs in a unique way which played with both his guitar and bass style in a stripped down format. And his songs are quite excellent and so very well in this solo format. His quirky conversational personality was there for this set and of course the next one. He played a half-hour which was just right and the moderately sizable crowd was enjoying this and quite involved with real honest to god listening. Although no one called him on his doctrinal error in referring to the Immaculate Conception as the birth of Jesus, when it is actually the birth of Mary. That's ok, I learned all of that later in life because I wasn't paying much attention to Sunday School either.
Sebadoh - Lou Barlow is starting off a busy period with this tour before another Dinosaur Jr. tour this fall, where they will also be playing this stage. The crowd is really hot tonight, but not in any stupid sort of way, just enthusiastic and smart. Those attributes are probably part of most Sebadoh fans as the band's accessible, energetic oddball pop songs tend to attract the smarter set. They were trying to play a different set of songs since the last time they were here and they did mix it up well, although I certainly don't have that setlist in my head or on paper. They played some new songs from their 5-song EP just out. These were crisp and rocking and were as fun as anything of old. They even improved "Played with the Needle of Light" a song written on the spot as Lou was trying to explain the concept of the vinyl CD EP. Jason and Lou switch to instruments so Jason can sing and play guitar to some of his songs which are pretty rocking tonight. He also added a cut that Lou had to guess how it went as it was unrehearsed. It came off just fine, as the difference between these guys and the Replacements is that these guys go with the flow, finish songs, sound great making it up while they go along. Just reverse all of that for the Replacements for those of you who remember their awful live shows (unless you are of the camp that found that cool, but I am opening up a vat of worms here). Good fun, tonight, not terribly compelling, but I would probably get quizzical expressions from the band if I tried to use the word compelling in front of them. They rock in their unique personal manner and delivered a fun set again at the Black Cat.
Quote within a Quote of the Night: From Lou... "Did someone just 'I have sex in my life?' I have sex in my life! Great."