Concert Review

Superchunk schools audience on the power of Rock and Roll

by Jacob and Spaceman Spiff

On Friday evening, the paragons of the independent age of music, Superchunk, played a night for the fans at the stage they helped build at the Cat’s Cradle.  The show was a warm-up for the summer music festival season and an east coast tour in the fall that will coincide with the release of their first full length album in nine years Majesty Shredding.   Fears that the show would highlight a laid back set from Superchunk stemming from the inclusion of Ryan Gustafson on the bill were quickly alleviated by Gustafson’s inclusion of friends from the Drughorse Collective to add a full band sound to his twangy pop.  Gustafson’s set was fantastic, the crowd was dancing and bobbing heads in approval as he performed his catchy songs with heartfelt conviction.

Superchunk took the stage at 10:00 p.m. brimming with intensity, vitality and volume.  Mac McCaughan owned the stage with moves that would put most Guitar Hero avatars to shame, Laura Balance is still a master of control with the bass, Jon Wurster’s drums told the packed house when to dance and when to jump, and—self-deprecating humor aside—Jim Wilbur’s guitar knew the potpourri of songs spanning the bands 20+ career better than anyone in the room.  What really set the show apart was that the majority of the set wasn’t forged to promote an album or conform to the bands comfort zones, but it was instead fueled and filled with requests taken by the band over email from the previous week.  It was a thrill to hear “Slack Motherfucker,” “Precision Auto,” and “Water Wings” in the same evening, and fans responded with great fervor.

As the night wore on, the magnetic energy in the room became tangible.  Superchunk was good enough to preview two songs from their new album Digging For Something and Everything at Once.  John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, who will be a guest on Majesty Shredding, came out to lend backup vocals to “Digging For Something” and was in the envious position of getting to dance around on stage with Superchunk.  An easy highlight of the evening, the fast and furious “Everything at Once” may be giving fans’ favorite songs a run for their money.  The only downside of the night was that it took the tech crew at the Cradle the first three songs of Superchunk’s set to blend the audio levels properly, but this may be a testament to the band’s rowdy enthusiasm. For an hour and a half they rocked hard, and we were all mesmerized.

Superchunk’s setlist:

1. Tower

2. For Tension

3. Skip Steps 1&3

4. Learned To Surf

5. Digging For Something (ft. John Darnielle)

6. Ribbon

7. Sidewalk

8. I Guess I Remembered It Wrong

9. Florida’s On Fire

10. Water Wings

11. European Medicine

12. Package Thief

13. Everything At Once

14. Precision Auto


15. On The Mouth

16. From The Curve

17. Slack Motherfucker

Encore 2:

18. Hyper Enough (ft. John Darnielle)

19. Throwing Things