Archers of Loaf, The Globes
June 12, 2011
Better than: seeing a Parade of Losers reunion.
It was a lot to ask of people to divert their eyes away from the television when the Mavericks were one victory away from winning the NBA finals. No matter who was playing on this night, people had the Mavs on their mind.
And yet, even while performing a rare between-coasts gig on this, their reunion tour, Archers of Loaf were forced to deal with this task last night.
You hear plenty about beloved '90s bands who reform out of nowhere and only play Chicago, Los Angeles and New York -- and maybe Austin if it's around SXSW. The fact that the Loaf came to Dallas was a blessing.
Yet the original set-time start scheduled for the band was going come during the final crucial minutes of the game. Quite the issue. Whether this deterred more people from coming out to the show, well, who really knows?
Fortunately, those who did come out did not go home disappointed.
In a very wise move, the night's opening act The Globes didn't go on until after the Mavericks were crowned victorious. The Loaf, meanwhile, didn't hit stage until 20 minutes shy of 11 o'clock.
The turnout was nowhere near a sellout, but the crowd that came out wanted Eric Bachmann, Eric Johnson, Matt Gentling and Mark Price very, very badly. Almost every song in their 19-song, 70-minute set had the crowd passionately singing along. Opening with "Lowest Part is Free!" was a wise choice; the place went crazy once the song kicked in. As the set moved forward, a majority of the songs were from the band's first two albums, Icky Mettle and Vee Vee, along with select cuts found on the Speed of Cattle compilation, All the Nation's Airports and White Trash Heroes.
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Bachmann's voice still sounded as strong and raspy as it did when the band was originally together. And even though Gentling's bass and Price's tom-toms overpowered almost everything else in the mix, Johnson's key lead guitar lines somehow cut through. There were some issues -- Price climbed uphill with monitor issues and Bachmann broke three strings in the course of the three songs towards the end of the show -- but they were minor ones.
Pacing-wise, the band often scaled back before going for the jugular. The instrumental "Acromegaly" loosened things up before "Fabricoh" ripped through. Performance-wise, the band played without hesitation and didn't act like they were pretending to be their younger selves.
Rather, they showed how you can still rock out even if you have a receding hairline and a mortgage to pay.
Given the small but devoted turnout, it was natural for the band to joke with the audience, especially when Gentling took to his microphone during the few breaks the band took. Those closest to the stage were treated like people instead of faceless customers.
Earlier in the night, opening act The Globes received a splendid reaction to their 30-minute, seven-song set. With a very math-y sort of sound, the band didn't trail off into a sonic black hole. Instead, the Spokane four-piece had a lot of rock power in them with a tinge of gritty British pop.
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Personal Bias: I missed Archers of Loaf when they were originally around. At the time, I was listening to Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, Hum and Face to Face -- and I wasn't watching 120 Minutes on a regular basis. Luckily, in the past six years, I've come to know some longtime fans who introduced me to the band's greatness.
Random Note: Bryce Avery of The Rocket Summer was in the audience. Interesting.
Archers of Loaf set list:
"Lowest Part is Free!"
"You and Me"
"Dead Red Eyes"
"Greatest of All Time"
"Web in Front"
"Form and File"
"All Hail the Black Market"
"Harnessed in Slums"