Efforts were made, believe it or not, to catch opening act Richard Buckner at Mercy Lounge Friday night, but to no avail. At least one second-hand source reported it was relatively epic, and having caught a few of his shows years ago at Murfreesboro’s legendary Red Rose Cafe, The Spin has no reason to contest that. We actually arrived just in time for the end of Sebadoh’s first song. And oh, hey, there were a good number of people there. Maybe there should have been more, but there were a lot, and we guess there’s only so much fanfare you can expect for a reunited cornerstone of ’90s indie rock that hasn’t put out a record in 12 years.
Sebadoh was literally only getting started. We knew from the get-go, given the upcoming scheduled reissues the band is supporting, that the set would be focused mostly on Bakesale and Harmacy, and after hearing them fire off “On Fire,” followed by “Skull,” it was clear Sebadoh had no intention of skimping on the classics. Founding members Lou Barlow and Jason Lowenstein sang in shifts, usually trading off on guitar and bass for a song or three. We’d never heard such a well-oiled, takin’-care-of-business version of Sebadoh before, and we can’t help but attribute that to the addition of Fiery Furnaces drummer Bob D’Amico. Their jagged guitar riffs, ominous melodies, and singing basslines screamed louder than ever when pushed by way more labor-intensive beats than were originally committed to tape.
Sebadoh played the aforementioned records nearly in their entirety. We also got gems like “Sister” from Bubble and Scrape and The Freed Man’s “New Worship.” And they couldn’t have ended their pre-encore set with a better song than the early feeler “Brand New Love.” Space in the front of the room had freed up considerably by mid-set, and we noticed the back of the audience shrinking a little every time we went for a beer. Was it possible people were leaving during a Sebadoh show? By the time they played their encore, the room had dwindled to maybe 100 or so die-hards. Barlow perhaps summed it up best when, after mentioning the upcoming reissues, a fan screamed to ask if it’d be available on vinyl. “We’re no Pavement,” Barlow replied. "We don’t get vinyl. We’re not even Guided by Voices. ... On a good day, we’re Superchunk.”