Back in 1992 I sat in a friends bedroom listening to his vinyl copy of Superchunk’s second album No Pocky For Kitty and being blown away by how they mixed punk and fuzz and melody. Jump forward 26 years and I’m standing in a packed ULU with the same friend thinking the same thing about Superchunk live.
The same(ish) band (drummer Jon Wurster joined in 1993 and bassist Laura Ballance is replaced for live duties by Jason Narducy) certainly don’t act their age on stage. From the outset, an excellent ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ from the new album of the same name, they play at full throttle. No ballads here. Front-man Mac McCaughan in particular bounces like a teenager, more energy than you’d typically expect from a 50 year old record executive.
The set is well chosen, a mix of new songs, requests and fan favourites from across the band’s career. The new songs sound just as good as the old, but there is a particular nostalgic joy when old tracks like ‘Skip Steps 1 and 3’ are belted out.
The band wisely eschew the on-off stage encore routine to maximise playing time and with minimal between song chatter they rattle off a good length set. Not all of my favourites got an airing, ‘Learned To Surf’ and ‘Seed Toss’ would have been on my list, but I can hardly complain when the band have so many firm favourites to choose from.
The closing couplet of an anthemic ‘Slack Motherfucker’ and a pedal-to-the-metal ‘Hyper Enough’ round things off perfectly. The crowd (complete with crowd surfers) clearly loved every minute and I’ll be back down the front if the band make it to this side of the Atlantic again.
Words and pictures Dorian Rogers