Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A full house for Sunny Day Real Estate

I missed out on seeing Sunny Day Real Estate first time around. An archetypal emo band who, in many ways, were heavier and far more emotionally raw than their more famous Seattle peers, Nirvana, the quartet imploded while recording their second album. The split was so acrimonious that SDRE didn't even stick around to name their second album, which has since been nicknamed "the pink album" (for its cover art) or "LP2."

The band's seminal debut, "Diary," and "LP2" have just been reissued with worthy bonus tracks and sleeve notes (my review of the pair of albums is in the current issue of FILTER.)

When Dave Grohl put Foo Fighters on hiatus so that he could form "Then Crooked Vultures," bassist Nate Mendel seized the opportunity to reconvene the original SDRE lineup for a tour. For most of the sold out crowd at the Fonda Theater, last night's show felt like a family reunion. Loudest crowd I've heard in a while and the anticipation of seeing these guys back together boiled over into mass pogoing and head banging.

They opened with the heady rush of "Friday" and "7." Whoosh! The band was so tight. So Loud. So HEAVY. The dual guitars of Dan Hoerner and Jeremy Enigk were thrilling, especially on the cut-glass riffing of "J'Nuh". William Goldsmith hits the skins harder than Mohammed Ali threw punches and I could feel Mendel's basslines course beneath my feet like seismic activity. Jeremy, the enigkmatic frontman, looks older than any of the other guys in the band even though he's the youngest. He clearly a quiet guy, but hasn't lost his primal scream.

Hoerner, the extrovert in the group, looked like he was having the time of his life and couldn't stop grinning. "This is a dream come true," he said at one point.

The only flaw of the night was a train wreck during "Grendel" when he played what sounded like a detuned guitar and had to switch instruments mid way through. Sunny Day Real Estate even played a new song (which didn't make much of an impression, to be honest) even though they downplayed the idea of creating new music in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. After the song, someone in the crowd asked about a new album, Hoerner responded, "we're working on it."

Highlight of the night was "In Circles" with the band firing on every cylinder in response to the effusive crowd during the encore break. As I noted in my album review, this Real Estate has only appreciated in value over the years.

1 comment:

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