Saturday, August 04, 2012

WILD FLAG; Mission of Burma; Ted Leo @ Prospect Park Bandshell

WILD FLAG; Mission of Burma; Ted Leo
@ Prospect Park Bandshell
Brooklyn, NY - August 3, 2012

Your obedient servant knowingly and willfully overhyped this show for weeks. Though being of the opinion that much of Mission of Burma's later work is what the youth call "dicking around", and though some of the more arena-rockish avenues taken by WILD FLAG leave me a bit cold, I felt it necessary to peddle this show in service of a greater purpose. A purpose to remind my fellow lovers of rock n' roll that it is still possible to get excited by an upcoming concert that brings together everything that is still right with The Sound. The Sound of course defined by not just the actual sounds, but the spirit. And certainly when Ted Leo was added to the bill, this became a rallying cry, as Ted Leo is...well...Ted Leo!

No matter how much cynicism is justified in the world of rock music and the experience of going to a rock show, there is still something exciting about the put-together bill of bands you would have booked yourself if you had the money. Earlier this summer, the incredible announcement of a sudden free bill featuring Superchunk and the Hold Steady sent me into fits (the good kind). I hadn't been that excited for a "Did I book this show in my sleep?!" program since the time the Dirtbombs and Blanche got together in Cleveland. And even though that CBGB day show was managed as poorly as could be, the fact that it came together at all made it all worth the efforts.

This free program for Celebrate Brooklyn had to face the usual assortment of problems in 21st Century concert going: chief among them being the incessant chattering of the noveau riche yuppie scum who appear for the sake of appearances and don't have any interest at all in the very reason for which they were prompted to appear. It turns out that the Yunnies (as Jeremiah of Vanishing New York calls them - Young Urban Narcissists) believe live music is the background sound to their endless insights into whatever it is they can say as they get an Internet-fueld ego-boost from hearing their own voices, and by god they will be damned if the music will get loud enough to overtake their own voices. They fight back! And worse yet, they drag me down with them. I was the only person in attendance telling myself to shut the hell up already.

But despite that, and despite my musical misgivings mentioned above which did indeed play out, it was again all worth it. WILD FLAG is SUCH a ROCK N ROLL BAND, it never gets redundant to point it out - in capital letters. And in some ways the best thing about Burma is just watching them play. They make a lot of  music that would not seem to indicate a bunch of guys having fun being in a rock band - and yet they are very clearly having the time of their lives on stage being in a rock band. And Ted Leo - despite missing the wallop of the Pharmacists - opened his songs up for dissection in a guitar-only set. One of my friends in attendance said it recalled Billy Bragg, which is spot on, shanties included.

But perhaps the best part of the night was a conversation I had with a stranger after I picked up the special WILD FLAG/Burma split 7" sold at the show. I don't know who he was but he had some stories to tell of 90's Indie bands he ran with in New England, and the records put out in those days, including one bit of  magic on Chunk Records, a 2-disc special of Love covers called Unloved featuring the Lyres, the Veronica Cartwrights, the Supreme Dicks, and his pals New Radiant Storm King, who themselves did a split with their friends Guided by Voices and one time Bob Pollard said...and you saw where this went. These are the little things that make these kinds of shows worth it. It always will.


At August 4, 2012 at 10:33:00 AM EDT, Blogger Matt said...

I love this post so hard.

I have a serious jones for Burma, and i have to agree with Pennypacker here. While I love that there's new music pouring out of these dudes, it seems to be more windy than their short sharp shocks circa Signals Calls and Marches. Although honestly, how were they EVER gonna top that?


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