Last night's first (and probably last) Shellac performance in Dallas was definitely met with excitement. The New Year, fronted by Bedhead bros. Matt and Bubba Kadane, and Shellac die-hards wrapped a line around the Sons of Herman Hall on what felt like the first official night of a long, hot summer, and once inside, two things immediately struck us: the multiple fans running downstairs to the bar during the New Year's set to check the TV for a Mavs score and the definite lack of A/C. Once the game and the New Year were finished (Go Mavs! Yay New Year!), all focus was on the stage with a hot, collective breath being held for the arrival of the great Steve Albini. Though accused during a Q&A session (a great idea for tuning breaks, by the way) of wearing "girl pants," Albini and his cohorts kept the audience enthralled, their aural assault met with sweaty, rhythmic head nods through Shellac must-plays such as "My Black Ass" from 1994's Action Park and "Prayer to God" from 2000's 1000 Hurts.
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By the end of the set, the crowd was wearing dumb-founded looks of contentment, as folks either rushed downstairs to the nicely chilled bar or to the stage to buy T-shirts from the band. My personal experience with Albini was pleasant and memorable: The allegedly grouchy indie-rock icon who has produced the likes of Nirvana, the Pixies and, yup, The New Year was shockingly friendly...and generous. During my shirt purchase, my friend (one of said die-hards) told Albini, "I'm broke, but I love you, and I had to tell you." After recommending I get a small tee to "look real good on the rack" (Thanks, Steve), Albini found an extra dollar, handed it to me with my change and told me to "give it to the broke guy." He then shook both of our hands, and we were on our way--moving only five paces before said Broke Guy exclaimed, "Steve Albini gave me a dollar! He understands!" --Merritt Martin