Holy shit. The Remains played at The Basement! And it was awwwesome — one of those shows that makes The Spin love our job and love our city even more than we already do. Seriously, in terms of once-, maybe twice-in-a-lifetime shows, we couldn't have asked for a better one. There was no audible way of differentiating between The Remains circa '66 and The Remains circa '11. Granted, if you had your eyes open it was pretty clear to see that these dudes were not 22 years old anymore, but it was also evident that there is no retirement age for pure rock 'n' roll radness. Our only complaint was that it was 21+ — there's a lot of little whippersnappers running around town trying to make garage rock even though they can't buy their own liquor, and it would have been nice for them to see how it's really done.
It was an early show, and the word from Grimey was that it was going to fill up quick. So we got there a half-hour early. It's a new record! And we weren't even the first ones there! If you've ever seen a group of garage nerds getting giddy, you know it's a beautiful thing. Especially beautiful was the inherent scraggliness of the garag- nerds standing next to, you know, actual grown-ups, who were there en masse as well. The room was pretty much a 50/50 split between friends and family of the band and sweaty-palmed collector types. (In case you were wondering, The Spin falls squarely in the latter category.) Needless to say, there was quite a bit of anticipation among the crowd milling about, lots of high expectations and discussion of late-period demos.
When The Remains hit the stage, it took about, oh, four bars for them to get in the groove and throw down like LBJ was still in office. By the time they got to the wild, trashing rave-up that has always made their version of “Hang on Sloopy” one of our favorites, we knew that we were in for a helluva show. The thing that always separated The Remains from the rest of the garage pack was that they could play their asses off and sing all pretty-like. And even though they're not playing together very often these days, they haven't lost one iota of that magic. Whether performing their own cult classics like “Don't Look Back” and “Why Do I Cry” or tackling vintage covers like “Sloopy,” ”Like a Rolling Stone” or the mind-blowing, set-closing rampage through “I'm a Man,” The Remains ripped it up like they had just walked off the set of Hullabaloo. It was amazing,and inspiring and just a boatload of pure rock 'n' roll fun.