Can't fight the Seger
Bridgestone Arena was a much different scene Thursday night than it was the previous Tuesday — when Lady Gaga rolled through. Gone were the Little Monsters with soda cans rolled in their tresses and makeup on their sparkling mugs. Instead of seeming like Ibiza's answer to The Gathering of the Juggalos, rolling up to see Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band felt more like going to a bingo game at a gun show. With so many mullets topped by hats bearing rebel flags, faded shirts bearing the fine work of Thomas Kinkade, a whole lotta shit with eagles on it, and aging Skoal-dippers mingling among Docker-clad dads, Thursday's near-packed house presented a patriotic spectacle of old-time rock 'n' roll. We love that shit.
Though still reeling from Tuesday night's Monster Ball, we weren't quite ready to go back to The 'Stone for another night of beer-drenched festivities. But, really, what kind of music fans would we be if we turned down an opportunity to turn the page, run against the wind and work our night moves with The Sege? As we made our way into the arena minutes before the house went dark, the stroll to our seats was about as casual as Seger's to the stage — which featured about as bare-bones a set-up as we've ever seen at an arena show. (There weren't even screens for the nose-bleeders.)
Iconically underdressed in his trademark jeans and jersey-T — which later gave way to a black bandanna and sleeveless shirt, making him look like an aged Eddie Wilson — the salty-haired singer (now 65) didn't offer much in the way of dazzling eye candy. But what he and his 14-piece Silver Bullet backing band — complete with auxiliary singers, a horn section and, as Homer Simpson would say, the "competent" drumming of Grand Funk Railroad's Don Brewer — lacked in sights, they made up in sound. Almost every selection of the show's 26-song hit parade — from an opening "Roll Me Away" to a closing "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" — was performed in classy, true-to-form fashion. And with Seger's voice — the auditorily archetypal, soulful, heartland-rock grumble from the guts ... or the heart — sounding as rough-hewn and golden-brown as it does when coming off the FM airwaves (as it inevitably is at any given moment somewhere in America), it was easy to embrace the musical moment.
With the exception of his latest single — an emotionally embellished cover of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train" — and the 2006 Vince Gill-penned duet with Kid Rock "Real Mean Bottle," Seger didn't (if memory serves) play a single song written in the last 25 years. But, really, that's the way it should've been. Whether pouring his heart into an acoustic "Mainstreet," a rocker like "Betty Lou's Getting out Tonight," obligatory, indelible hits like "Turn the Page," "We've Got Tonight," "Against the Wind" and "Night Moves," or raving it up during "Hollywood Nights" and classic covers like "Trying to Live My Life Without You," Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" and Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits," Seger & Co. appropriately gave the crowd all the comforting meat and potatoes they salivated for. And fans of five generations responded by singing back choruses with gang vocals 15,000 voices strong.
Seriously, you haven't lived until you've seen a massive mass of Social Security-eligible Boomers rise from their seats, loose feet, and arrhythmically impersonate the Caddyshack gopher to the step-inducing sounds of "Old Time Rock & Roll." That said, we were more than a little disappointed that our section opted to sit during "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man."
But seriously, who are we gonna have to sing us their 43-year-old first single when we're in our 60s?
(And, yes, Kid Rock did, to the crowd's delight — but not ours — make an appearance to join Seger for "Bottle." And yes, it was a moment we could've done without, but it could've been a lot worse. They could've played "Bawita-Bob.")
Killing in the name of
It was nights like Friday that make us think maybe The Cannery Ballroom needs to invest in a red carpet to roll out now and again. As one enthusiastic member of the sold-out audience observed during a smoke break, members of The Black Keys and The Raconteurs were in attendance. "Do you know what this means?" he added. "This might make it in The Spin!" You may be right, friend.
Much to The Spin's chagrin, we arrived a little too late to catch openers The Entrance Band. Hell, The Spin didn't even know they were playing till we spotted their merch up front later in the evening. After seeing them open for Sonic Youth at War Memorial a couple years ago, it stings a little to think of what all we missed.
We were, however, right on time for Cold Cave, who arrived onstage with an unrelenting blast of clubby electro-pop, complete with dreamy synthscapes, jackhammer kick drum and beefy bass lines that dotted each track like Morse code. However, a little more in the way of dynamics might have kept their balls-out delivery somewhat more interesting — not to mention maybe a little movement on stage. Granted, frontman Wesley Eisold was the only member not anchored by a set of keyboards or a drum kit, but as the former vocalist for hardcore band American Nightmare, surely he knows a little something about showmanship.
On to the main event. London-based two-piece The Kills were greeted with epic applause. The duo carried on with an onslaught of pseudo-industrial electro-blues, matching the garage-y stomp of Royal Trux with the sparse drone of Suicide. Frontwoman Alison Mosshart slithered and stammered about the stage, almost literally dripping with charisma, occasionally picking up a guitar or a set of drumsticks to bang along with partner Jamie Hince.
When all was said and done, the demand for an encore was so loud and intense that we knew either The Kills' return or a riot was imminent. Once again, all eyes were on Mosshart as she drove the guys and gals crazy for a couple more songs. As the smutty version of that old saying goes, there wasn't a dry seat in the house. Also, there weren't any seats.
In last week's coverage of Road to Bonnaroo Round Three, The Spin mentioned that PUJOL's Daniel Pujol might have a new project called Providence. This was incorrect. "Providence" is, in fact, merely the name of a new song. We apologize for any confusion. Care to bust our balls over it? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With regards to Ida, they have a few songs that I always put in my…
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Well, they said they wanted it stuffed and mounted.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Yeah, fuck Dan Auerbach.
John Wayne? Never Heard of Her.