Playin’ at the Talent Show

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It took a good day to recover and post this little retrospective of The Replacements’ show at the Crystal on Friday. I hope you enjoy it…

Simply put—pure fucking joy.

Thanks to the kindness of friends, we were able to get in a bit earlier. Turns out we ended up right in front. Didn’t expect that. The stage was much smaller than I remember. In fact, it was probably the most intimate-feeling show I’ve seen at this venue. Possible reason—I didn’t drink during the show. As it was an all ages show, the Crystal separated the drinkers from the kids. At other shows like Dinosaur Jr. or Archers of Loaf, I ended up at least 20-30 feet away, behind the “beer barrier.” Sober at a Mats show? Well, kinda…and it was worth it!

The Young Fresh Fellows kicked off the antics and didn’t disappoint. I especially liked their cover of Slim Dunlap’s “Loud Loud Loud Loud Guitars.” Their drummer Tad Hutchison is phenomenal! In fact, the whole band was just plain tight! Watch an Instagram video of YFF tearing it up before The ’Mats.

Post YFF, the antsy crowd was kept slightly at bay with Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and other classics on the overheads. Mayhem quickly ensued however, as the lights dimmed and “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen started blasting. Paul comes running out, does a little chicken dance lap around the stage, followed by his mates. You can watch that footage now, if you wish.

They launched straight in with “Takin’ A Ride,” followed by “Favorite Thing”. I don’t have footage of that because I screamed along to the entire song and ruined the audio. However, you can watch a bit of “I Will Dare.” More video highlights to come!

The crowd could not get enough, even after the first encore. I threw a bunch of old used 45s, including Les Paul, Paul Anka, The Partridge Family ( among others, they were supposed to be a gift!) onto the stage, just before Tommy followed the rest of the band offstage. He looked at me, then walked up to the records and just started breaking them and crushing them with his hands. All I could do was laugh.

The band came out for one more, “I.O.U.” off Pleased to Meet Me. Pure rock ’n roll. What a way to end a show!

Does anyone else out there have post-show depression? I miss The ’Mats already. Maybe I should just hit the road and follow ’em? “In my waxed up hair and my painted shoes…” Sigh. I mean, Tommy still owes me $1 for all those records!

The party is NOT OVER!

early-mats-record

In fact, some would say the party’s just beginning…bring your own lampshade to Friday’s show in Portland!

So, I got the above record after a screening of the film “Color Me Obsessed” a while back (thank you Jackpot Records). It’s so f’in great, I don’t even know where to begin. The only other ’Mats I have on vinyl is Tim (from my father-in-law, more on that in another post) and the Songs for Slim LP. The rest of the ’ole collection is on cassette and yes, they still work!

Why is this record so special? Evidently, it was limited to a pressing of 400, and features outtakes from their early recordings (duh!). This one is on blue vinyl, but I’ve seen it online in red/hot pink too. Why you need this record:

mats-notes

Arguably the best track on the damn thing is “If You Get Married,” mainly ’cuz you can’t find that song anywhere else. It’s tender, poignant and still has balls. Also, I AM a girl, and love it when Paul wears his heart on his sleeve. But I digress.

early-mats-back

Please note: this album was not produced by ALEX CHILTON.

Buy this album on Discogs.

We’re in trouble…

 

Yeah, so we’re one week away folks. The Replacements play Portland’s Crystal Ballroom Friday, April 10. I can’t hardly wait.

I’m pretty sure the last show The ’Mats played was Austin City Limits in October 2014. Paul wore overalls and frequently played while laying down on a hammock (click on the above link if you haven’t already). The band was tight, just as they have been since kicking off their reunion tour over a year ago.

Some ’Mats fans still doth protest these reunion tours. “It’s not The ’Mats, Bob’s gone,” they’ll say, or “They’re just in it for the money, fuck this reunion shit.” When I first heard they were doing a festival circuit back in 2013, I kinda had the same reaction. I was really skeptical—most reunion tours suck, frankly. Also, my affection for festivals began and ended after the first Lollapalooza. So, I held out hope for a ’Mats US tour of small clubs.

Then I watched the festival mayhem unfold online. Holy crap, did I miss out!

It began with Riotfest! in Toronto and ended at the aforementioned ACL Fest. What a run! I mean Jesus, did they play a shitty show? You tell me—I wasn’t there. Heck, I even watched them play Jimmy Fallon online (I’d share that clip but NBC has removed it).

Why are they so good (again)? Some idears:

  1. It looks like Paul and Tommy are having fun again (a lot of fun).
  2. Dave Minehan on guitar. The guy fucking rocks. Check out his first band, The Neighborhoods.
  3. Josh Freese on drums. Dude also plays with Devo.

Here’s another clip, going waaayyyy back (not) Riot Fest! Chicago (and yeah, that’s J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. lurking on the side):

 

So, who’s excited about Friday, April 10 in Portland? That would be me.

“Can’t hardly wait, I can’t wait!”

 

Live, incarnated (and inconcerated)


There are many incarnations of The Replacements. There are also many opinions as to which incarnation is the greatest.

I’ll be honest—it depends on my mood.

Today, what I really needed was plenty of thrash, with a little rockabilly and attitude thrown in. That means the original incarnation in their humble beginning. ’81 ’Mats, courtesy of Twin/Tone (twintonedigital on YouTube).

“During the first week of September 1981, Twin/Tone took the mobile recording unit and rented a bunch of video gear and recorded 15 bands live (five nights) at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis. These clips are presented as they were recorded live… in set order and very much with the tuning that troubled the night. The Replacements were the middle band of three (Husker Du closed the show) and played two 25 minute sets,” is the official statement on their YT channel.

What I’ve always loved about this footage is just how well it captures the ’Mats raucous spirit. Tommy is like, 14; Bob’s playing is solid and dangerous, Chris is a snarling drum MACHINE (that’s not a dis) and baby-faced Paul is sweating, screaming and still seems gentle somehow.

Favorite cuts: part 3 kicks off with “Johnny’s Gonna Die,” arguably the best track on Sorry Ma…just listen to Paul scream! A while later, they cover “Maybelline.” And don’t miss “I Hate Music,” another gem. Does it get any better than this?

Click on the video above to start watching the entire six-part series. Kudos to Twin/Tone for recording all this, and for sharing it!

Oh, baby, don’t gimme that look

 

“What the hell are we doin’ here?” Paul asks as he and the band launch into Talent Show at the 1989 International Rock Awards.

That’s a good question, Paul. Here’s another Q: what the hell are the International Rock Awards? The name reminds me of the Simpsons episode, “Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?” You know, the one in which Homer wins the “First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.”

This performance is pure ’Mats for many other reasons:

  • They’re playing Talent Show at an awards show.
  • Tommy is cracking up at 0:39.
  • Paul sticks his tongue out during the camera close-up.
  • At 0:56 they just fucking take off (we’ll show YOU!).
  • The lyric “we’re feelin’ good from the pills we took” is censored.
  • Paul changes the lyric, “it’s too late to turn back, here we go!” to “it’s too late to take pills, here we go!”
  • Check out the actor Matt Dillon at 3:22 whistling.

A: The International Rock Awards.

When it began…

Shhh...

Shhh…

I was 15. The year: 1989. My teen angst bullshit craved something more than The Smiths, R.E.M. or even The Violent Femmes. I could only listen to my mom’s early Kinks and Chess blues records so many times.

Enter The Replacements.

As with any meaningful music discovery, the doors were opened by the older generation. In this case, my best friend at the time’s hip, older sister (She hung out with skateboarders! She drank!) Most important—she passed along her tape of The Replacements’ Don’t Tell a Soul. I was hooked.

Obsessively, I read and reread the liner notes. I stared at the photos. Who was that person backstage wearing a work shirt, fishnets and work shoes? I wanted to be her (“You be me for awhile, and I’ll be you,” right?).

Still got it — Don't Tell a Soul tape from 1989.

Still got it — Don’t Tell a Soul tape from 1989.

The songs rocked and rolled (“The rock’s easy, but the roll is another thing…” ― Keith Richards). My faves: Talent Show, We’ll Inherit the Earth and Anywhere’s Better Than Here. There were ballads, too. Rock ’N Roll Ghost is still a tear-jerker.

Of course, for many long-time fans, Don’t Tell A Soul was The Replacements’ “sellout” album. Totally get that. But for a 15-year-old white girl from the Chicago ’burbs, it was real, honest music — more “rock” than anything else out there at the time.

I immediately dove into The Replacements’ early albums and never looked back. That’s how my love affair with The Replacements began.

“We’ll inherit the Earth, but don’t tell anybody…” 

Everyone looks so sad here.

Everyone looks so sad here.