LIVE REVIEW: Sebadoh & Quasi
Lou Barlow (1 of 6) VIEW PHOTOS
Sebadoh’s seminal 1994 album Bakesale was a tremendous moment for indie rock, as the record encapsulated everything about the low-fi movement that would eventually become a highly marketable motif in recent years. Over 15 years after Bakesale’s impact and influence, Sebadoh once again regrouped, with Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein welcoming new drummer Bob D’Amico into the fold. Their recent tour with fellow indie stalwarts Quasi proved to be one of the best shows in recent memory when both bands performed at local San Diego institution The Casbah on February 23, 2011.
Without a band to fill in the opening spot, the first half of the evening was lent to drinking and smoking cigarettes on The Casbah’s outdoor patio, as a small but mighty crowd gathered in support of these two indie juggernauts. Steep ticket prices at $17 kept the evening’s audience sparse, but those who did fork over the cover charge were rewarded with memorable sets from both bands. Formerly a duo consisting of drummer Janet Weiss and keyboard/guitarist Sam Coomes, the pair recently added bassist Joanna Bolme to the group, further expanding Quasi’s sound and creating an onstage chemistry that recalls Weiss’ and Bolme’s other gig as rhythm section for Stephen Malkmus’ backing band The Jicks. Quasi tore through material off their latest album for Kill Rock Stars, American Gong and choice cuts from their previous albums, including a couple from their 1998 breakthrough album, Featuring “Birds.” A highlight of the evening came in the form of “Pictures of Lily” a classic Who cover the band occasionally likes to sneak into their sets.
With the crowd thoroughly warmed up, Sebadoh took the stage with the intent of only playing songs from of 1994’s Bakesale and 1996’s Harmacy. Opening up with “On Fire” the first track off Harmacy, vocalists Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein switched on lead vocals and bass duties, doing about four or five songs each before trading off between each other. At one point during the show, Barlow joked about how Sebadoh successfully outlived fellow nineties alt-rockers Oasis, eventually doing a brief acapella version of “What’s The Story Morning Glory?” as an impromptu tribute with successful comedic timing.
While Barlow often tours as a solo artist and will occasionally perform with his side project The Folk Implosion, the truly memorable moments were supplied by the enigmatic Jason Loewenstein. Currently a touring member with The Fiery Furnaces, Loewenstein went all out on his vocals, screaming into the mic during “Dramamine” and drudging up old forgotten memories on the classic, “S. Soup.” With a remastered reissue of Bakesale coming out on Sub Pop Records June 14, fans can only hope that Sebadoh will return to the road once again, or perhaps even better, record a new album.
Photos by LKL Studio.