At this point in my life I’ve developed a bit of a reputation for being an everloving, 90s obsessed freak and I’m okay with that. Especially when it means standing front row center to witness lo-fi geniuses Sebadoh perform some of their first new material in 14 years.
Hardcore Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein fans were treated multiple times over at the Horseshoe Tavern -the two opening acts were none other than Circle of Buzzards and Sentridoh aka Loewenstein and drummer Bob D’Amico, and Lou Barlow solo on a ukulele respectively. While watching Sebadoh in different incarnations for an hour and a half before Sebadoh properly took the stage may have ruined the surprise a wee bit, spending an entire evening reliving 1993 was a dream come true for anyone who gave up on contemporary music after Y2K.
Sentridoh opened with “Temporary Dream” off of 1990’s self-released Weed Forestin’ cassette and all of the 40-year-olds surrounding me lost their shit. One in particular exclaimed that Lou Barlow can sing “any dumb little song and make it sound good,” which is an understatement. The majority of Sentridoh songs performed were written when Barlow was a self-described 19-year-old pothead and punctuated with humorous anecdotes including ‘Poledo’ from Barlow’s Dinosaur Jr. days, “Whitey Peach” and “I Can’t See,” a track Barlow wrote about his first crush, a goth-punk chick working at the Dairy Mart in Westfield, Massachusetts.
It must be surreal to be performing songs you wrote as a drug-addled teenager when you’re now 46 with a wife and two children and have sworn off the hard stuff for good. The highlight of the night was actually when Barlow let the audience in on his grown-up state of mind for a few minutes by delivering a new song about dropping his daughter off at school in LA and being intimidated by all the other successful dads and repeating the mantra, “failure is a state of mind.” If Lou Barlow thinks of himself as a failure, what hope do any of us have of ever being happy?
That sentiment seemed to have bummed the audience out that when Sebadoh actually joined forces on stage, the crowd could barely muster the energy of a dead fish to enjoy the classics like “Flame,” “Magnet’s Coil” and “Skull.” The new material off of Secret EP released last month was a real gem and I got a case of the chills during “Keep The Boy Alive,” just as I did when I heard it for the first time streaming online a few weeks ago.
Lou Barlow announced that the new EP was the band’s first completely independent release since the cassettes the band made back when they were young stoners. It felt like a full circle and totally authentic way to celebrate the longevity of their career as pioneers of modern indie rock.