Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mission of Burma - Purling Hiss -- Black Cat - Sep 8 2012

Purling Hiss - I have enjoyed this Philadelphia trio on the downstairs stage a few times before, but this was their chance with a larger audience on the big stage. For the most part, they delivered their somewhat modernized garage blues-rock-psyche riff heavy rock with the skill evidenced at past shows. They are like Blue Cheer, but on steroids as opposed to psychedelics (well, mostly). At their best, it's easy to get lost in the riffage and dig into their sound, which also resembles a psychedelic Fang, even. A few times, they vary things with poppier hook-oriented numbers, some of which work nicely. Credible and accepted well enough by the crowd, but the intensity does translate a little better in a smaller club setting. But that should not stop anyone from checking them out indoors/outdoors or large venue/small venue. They do this sound proud.

Mission of Burma - Is this really the eleventh year of their 'reunion'? Hard to believe as it seems like I just saw that great comeback tour. But I have seen them a few times in between as well so yes, Mission of Burma, like another great Mass band Dinosaur Jr., have maintained a great second run. Burma's records are excellent and their live shows continue to be exciting. Tonight was no exception as their 70 minute set was steadily explosive with all the power you expect and fascinating post-punk jagged hooks constantly mutating out of the volume. The trio onstage has been at it since the beginning with 'fourth member' Bob Weston (Shellac) at the soundboard handling samples and ensuring the band delivers clarity at high volume. You can come to a show like this out of respect for their particular American brand of post-punk that set the stage for Sonic Youth and others to further. But quite simply, they create a great sound for any era and whether they are playing the fine material from their new album, "Unsound", or a classic like "This is not a Photograph". Everything ran like clockwork aside from a really long discussion onstage about what to play for their 3-song encore. Fortunately they ended the summit with smiles and included the Dils "Class War" as one of the songs. I see no reason to stop seeing these guys, no matter how many times you have done it before. They have the history as well as the fresh energy to present some of the more creative rock songs out there.

Quote of the Night: From a fan next to me who pulled up shortly after Burma began... "How many songs have they played? Good! I just had to see Bob Mould, too." It was nice to see at least one person taking in two seminal acts from the early-to-mid 80s on this oddly-booked evening with Bob having his band play the 9:30 Club. Neither show sold out, and the Burma crowd maybe was only a wee bit smaller than the last time if memory serves.


ChrisO said...

I saw them 2 1/2 years ago, I saw them Saturday night, and I'd probably go see them again any time I had the chance. They are certainly more exciting and harder rocking that most bands 1/2 (1/3?) their age.

Too bad the 9:30 swent off and scheduled Bob Mould for the same night. There is probably a fair amount of audience overlap, and I know I would have liked to see both. So instead of 2 sellouts, there are 0. Yes, there was a bigger crowd in February(?) 2010.

David Hintz said...

Thanks for the confirmation on the crowd size, ChrisO. Sometimes crowds fall off a little after the initial reunion tours, but they are not a reunion band anymore, but a high quality working band for all ages. I went back and forth and ultimately decided that Burma doing a balanced set would be more fun for me than Bob's specific album sets. Plus I've seen Bob a lot more than Burma over my life.

And yes, Mission of Burma still have more ferocious hard rock in their veins than many peers and followers have. May we all be back next time with a coupla hundred more besides.