Mike Watt & Friends 05/02/2012
Le Poisson Rouge -New York City
Words/Photos By Jay Porks
Tonight is going to be a treat to say the least. “Tonight ‘Three Rooms Press’ presents: May Day 2: Mike Watt + Friends w/ Mike Watt + J Mascis + Murph , Appomattox , Dead Trend and the NYC Launch of Mike Watt: On and Off Bass + very special guests”. How could I not go to this?? Especially since I got the Flu (which I’m still laboring from) at the Melvins/Unsane gig and with no medical insurance took the safe route and made the sacrilegious decision to leave the show midway through-Didn’t even see the Melvins. So All Apologies on my end, that’s something that will not happen again. That’s what made me get these tickets, because I felt I needed to make up for missing the Melvins. What better way then Watt From Pedro? And Le Poisson Rouge no less? At 158 Bleecker Street this is where I saw The Meat Puppets back in November tear the roof off this place. Small venue, and I arrived first on line as usual, about 6 with Doors at 7, Show at 8. Spotted J Mascis outside around 6:30. This night could get interesting..So let’s kick off the 68th Episode of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series, I promise you this is a good one!
Once I nabbed my spot up front I was ready to rock and roll. Last time I was here there was a “Dance Party” scheduled for after the show. I’m not sure what the case is tonight, but they moved quick in setting up and being ready to roll by 8PM. Three Rooms Press put this gig together so there is this woman introducing the bands and hyping up the aforementioned publisher. She thanks us for coming repeated, etc. Anyway, she introduces a band called Dead Tread and 8PM. I would their sound as “kinda punky” if you times what’s in quotations by 11. I saw a 12 song set list and I was pissed. I thought we were in for some 40 minute set. Get this, these dudes may not have even had a song that clocked in at over a minute. The took their shirts off, this dude screamed at us. Songs called “Lunch lady” if my vision serves me right. They played from 8 to 8:17. Twelve songs in 17 minutes then the guitar player who has already broken two strings takes his guitar and slams it on stage. Freaking awesome! Someone screamed “You guys suck!” after the set, and the drummer said “Tell us something we don’t know”.
At 830, Brooklyn’s own, Appomattox hit the stage. Introduced as “Mike Watt’s favorite band from Brooklyn”.. They were a lot more towards the side of traditional rock and roll and weren’t punky at all as Dead Trend was. Their songs had hooks and stuff, and the lead singer was switching off between keyboards and guitar. They played about 25 minutes and the last song they played, “Radiator”, is available to listen to on the web( so they say) they went off at 8:55..
There was an interview with Mike Watt before he went on “with friends”..I filmed it, so I figure why write about it when I can show you. There’s some hilarious stuff in this. It’s worth the check out.
Right after the interview, Watt headed towards his bass to start setting up. JM and Murph come on stage and set up quickly. It seems J has found a new bag in which to keep his effects pedals because he usually packs a hefty looking case where this was able to fold up easily when they went off later. Maybe it’s the “Non-Dinosaur Jr” pedal board, he probably has tons. There’s a few things I’ve been wondering since I bought this ticket yesterday: Whose catalog are they going to be dipping into? Would it be more Minutemen stuff, or will they mess around and do some Dino stuff too? Who is singing? Few minutes before 9:30, and those questions were about to be answered.
When the lights dimmed and the show got started, the dude who’s gonna kick off the night on vocals was unknown to me, but thanks to comments left by awesome people reading, I now know that was Don Fleming (of Gumball). The riff was familiar, but I couldn’t hear any lyrics because, I’ve AGAIN made the mistake of place myself an arms distance from JM and his amps, giving my eardrums a beating. This is the kind of pain I enjoy, as I realize it was “Real Cool Time”, a Stooges song! I was floored when they played “TV Eye” next (John Petrovic from Cobra Verse sang that), because now I get it. We are gonna jam out to Stooges songs all night with Watty’s mean bass plucks and JM basically turning his 6 string into a blow torch that blew the minds of us close enough to be completely taken in by it. I love the original versions, but hearing JM’s take on it was like something you can only imagine. You don’t get these types of shows at the big venues.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, here comes out on to the stage none other than Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth)! Thurston! Seriously!?! Is this “fill the venue with my favorite musicians” night or what? They played “Loose”, another Stooges cover as it was confirmed that this is Stooges tunes all night, and I’m freaking creaming my pants over here third song in.
Steve Shelley, also from Sonic Youth came on stage to drum on “Dirt” next. The vocalist was an unknown to any of us, only reference Mike Watt made to her was “J’s friend”. Come to find out that was Sharon Von Etten In a night of uncertainty at first, rocking out throughout the evening over everything, was the man who was on Bass, and that’s Watt From Pedro (his twitter is @wattfrompedro ). The bass lines were prevalent everywhere. Every time JM took his foot off a pedal you hear that funky bass riff bouncing all over the place.
When it was time to play “Down on the Street”, Thurston Moore made another appearance. After that, I see this kid come up on stage with lyrics in his hand. It’s Kurt Vile. I’ve heard of him, but never heard his stuff. He held his own on “No Fun”, even though is that really the song you need the lyrics for? That’s barely a critique, just an observation. Did I mention I was rolling film throughout the duration of the evening? Yea, I got the whole set minus about a minute from the encore because my 16 gig Memory Card was apparently full. The encore was Thurston returning to the stage to do an epic version of “Funhouse” , and I saw myself with the rest of the crowd moving towards the exits at 10:26PM.
Set List(Mike Watt was kind enough to Tweet this over):
Real Cool Time with Don Fleming
TV Eye with John Petkovic, John Maloney on Drums
Loose with Thurston Moore, John Maloney on Drums
Dirt with Sharon Van Etten and Steve Shelley
Not Right (watt on vocals) John Maloney on Drums
Down on The Street with Thurston Moore, Murph on Drums
No Fun with Kurt Vile, Murph on Drums
1970 with Noel (former soundman from the Continental on vocals) Steve Shelley
Little Doll (Watt on vocals), Steve Shelley
Fun House with Thurston Moore and John Petkovic on Clarinet
LA Blues – with Byron Coley and John Petkovic w/ Murph & John Maloney on Drums
Jeez, that was so awesome. Like, I wish I could put it to you in a intellectual sort of way but I can’t. Mike Watt, J Mascis, Murph, Thurston Moore, Steve Shelly, Kurt Vile came into Le Poisson Rouge and jammed on Stooges songs on a Wednesday night in New York City. What more could you ask for?