Monday, October 16, 2006
As much as I love Superchunk, I've often found myself making a more emotional connection to the songs of Mac McCaughan's other (don't call it a side-) project, Portastatic. What started out as his lower-fi solo outlet has transformed itself into a full-on live entity over the years, and while the band occasionally flirts with the near-punk of the loudest 'Chunk, they're also able to incorporate that softer side with ease. We saw both facets this past Friday night when Mac brought the current lineup to town for a set at Great Scott.
Live at Great Scott in Allston, MA
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
01. Sour Shores
(not shared for techy reasons, see below)
02. Truckstop Cassettes
03. Through With People
04. You Blanks
05. Oh Come Down
06. Drill Me
07. Sweetness and Light
09. Like A Pearl
10. Spying on the Spys
11. I'm In Love (with Arthur Dove)
12. Noisy Night
13. Bye Bye Pride (Go-Betweens cover)
14. San Andreas
15. I'm Not Sayin' (Gordon Lightfoot via Nico cover)
16. I Wanna Know Girls
Joining Mac on stage was 'new guy' Jeff Clark on 2nd guitar, bass player Aaron Oliva, Matt McCaughan on drums, and Margaret White on keys, violin, backing vocals, and other various noise-making things. We also got a guest appearance from an audience volunteer for some extra nut-shaking percussion on "Sweetness and Light". Well played, random stranger. I hope you find this here recording, and if you do, say hello in the comments. I've got a photo for ya.
Personal highlights? It's hard not to lean towards the old stuff I first connected with ("San Andreas", "Oh Come Down"), but I was equally enamored with the moving "Like A Pearl" off the latest record, "Be Still Please", which came out this past Tuesday. It was also a total treat to get a Go-Betweens cover, and Mac & Margaret's beautiful version of "Bye Bye Pride" made me miss Grant McLennan a little bit more.
I'm mighty glad I ordered "Be Still Please" early and straight from the label, as not only did I score the bonus disc of demos and unreleased tracks, "Some Small Things You Can't Defend" (which you can also pick up at shows), but was surprised with the spiffy set of four Portastatic coasters, which were nice enough that I'd have bought 'em anyway. Thanks very much, Merge. I've already used one underneath my new Rose Melberg coffee mug.
This was the second night of an in-progress headlining tour that has just four more East Coast dates left, and if you're lucky one is near you. Arrive early for tour-support Jennifer O'Connor and her NYC-based band (also featuring Margaret White), whose recordings I'd not yet heard, but impressed me enough live to fix that immediately. And if you miss Portastatic this time around, fear not: They'll be back out in November for a few more dates.
A few Portastatic links...
the fine print... If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link on left). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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