Our Concert Could be Your Life
May 8, 2012 9:42 PM   Subscribe

On May 22nd, 2011 at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, a number of bands put on a concert hosted by Eugene Mirman and Janeane Garofalo to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the publication of Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life.

Link with more context, setlists, and a whole lot of pics. Alternate context.

NPR audio timecodes on the left for easier perusal of first link, video footage and relevant info in links below (NB: where available, some incomplete/missing video sets, YMMV):

[00:30] Dirty Projectors played Black Flag, although in a much more straightforward manner than the reinterpretive vein of their 2007 "covers" record Rise Above.

[10:10] Delicate Steve (with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav) played Minutemen.

[23:10] Citay played Mission of Burma, but unfortunately no one filmed it or at least uploaded it, which is unfortunate as Citay are actually pretty good.

[33:15] Ted Leo played Minor Threat with a reel-to-reel tape machine for a backing band.

[43:18] Grooms played Husker Du, and also did a brief interview with Michael Azerrad on their blog.

[52:23] Titus Andronicus with Craig Finn of The Hold Steady played Replacements.

[62:02] TUnE-yArDs and [67:10] Callers played Sonic Youth songs, although only footage of tUnE-yArDs is available on youtube.

[75:30] Dan Deacon played Butthole Surfers, "and things got really wacky".

[89:45] St. Vincent played Big Black, which is really just swell.

[100:40] Wye Oak played Dinosaur Jr, which again, sadly, does not seem to exist in video form.

[109:10] Buke and Gass played Fugazi.

[114:45] White Hills played Mudhoney.

[125:30] Yellow Ostrich played Beat Happening.

[135:00] Michael Azerrad gave some brief comments and thanks, followed by some crowd surfing.

[141:20] The encore was a couple of rather drunken Nirvana covers by Dan Deacon, [145:25] Titus Andronicus, and [148:00] tUnE yArDs, backed with members of Buke and Gass, Wye Oak and Dirty Projectors.
posted by SomaSoda (18 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
But halfway into the opening chapter about the California hardcore punk band Black Flag, I was hooked.

If I'd one of the friends recommending the book and I'd been worried it wouldn't interest him, I would have suggested reading the Butthole Surfers chapter first.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:46 PM on May 8, 2012

You could start anywhere in the book and have it work out OK, but it seemed to me that a lot of it builds sequentially, where since the bands are listed roughly chronologically, each one is building upon what one of the others did. And what Black Flag did was monumental, not only with opening up possibilities for bands to have places to play on a touring circuit, but in starting a seminal record label and all sorts of stuff.
posted by LionIndex at 9:56 PM on May 8, 2012

Yeah, absolutely loved this book.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:56 PM on May 8, 2012

Delicate Steve!!!!
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:05 PM on May 8, 2012

I'd forgotten all about Eugene Mirman and The Marvelous Crooning Child [flash].
posted by unliteral at 10:38 PM on May 8, 2012

Such a great book. I loved every single one of those bands and saw most of them play live repeatedly (cept for Burma). I can't believe, I completely missed out on this event...fuckin' A.
posted by Skygazer at 10:50 PM on May 8, 2012

Not for the first time I wish Flash didn't crash.
I want to watch these videos.
I am also adding this book to my BD wishlist. Metafilter is bad for my shelves.

I also want to express my undying affection for the fact we live in a universe that allows Janeane Garofalo to exist.
posted by Mezentian at 10:50 PM on May 8, 2012

Mr. Narrator, this is Bob Dylan to me.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]

The chapter about the Butthole Surfers is incredible.
posted by mcmile at 11:11 PM on May 8, 2012

That book was great at filling in the back story of the bands that were so important to me. I saw many of those bands live and bought the records as they came out and read as many fanzines as I could find and thought I knew all of the important stuff about the era. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned reading that book. I think I need to go back and give it another read and see how it holds up.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:11 AM on May 9, 2012

This is just pretty incredible overall. I'd say that Citay's cover of Mission of Burma's Trem Two was pretty tame and not completely effective. (I'm love love love me some MoB, so I'm biased).
The St. Vincent cover of Big Black's Kerosene was quite well-done (also high praise coming from me, BB is responsible for my second favorite album of all time. Titus Andronicus's cover of The 'Mats was straightforward and excellent. And I really didn't want to enjoy Ted Leo's Minor Threat set, but damn him if he didn't win me over.

This is a fucking great post, SomaSoda. Thanks so much for this.
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:22 AM on May 9, 2012

Mr. Narrator, this is Bob Dylan to me.

I'm his soldier-child.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:33 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

That book changed my life.

I read it over 2 days of getting my wisdom tooth extraction pain study (not bad getting paid to get your funky wisdom teeth pulled). It expanded my music library, and made me fall in love with Fugazi.
posted by ShawnString at 5:35 AM on May 9, 2012

I have spent so much time at NPR's music site. It is amazing. Much like most of this concert.
posted by inigo2 at 6:11 AM on May 9, 2012

That came out when I was in a band. Everyone in the band (five people) loved it. Loved the story about (IIRC) Mission of Burma touring via cheap airplane tickets.
posted by drezdn at 6:15 AM on May 9, 2012

Such a great book. Dinosaur Jr's experiments in "extra-sensory driving" is reason enough to read the chapter on the band.
posted by photoslob at 6:29 AM on May 9, 2012

This was an astounding book about a very exciting time in rock music, the last blast of great underground noise.

In the mid-80's, the punks and new-wavers had come and gone, and independent music was nowhere to be seen in the MTV-dominated rock world. The community of small labels, clubs, fanzines, and radio stations supported a tiny but rabid following for weird, funny rock music made by people who didn't have dreams of arena stardom or Rolling Stone celebrity. The more rockist acts in the underground scene made music that sounded like punk rockers playing heavy metal; this music would later be stripped of its wit and dubbed "grunge."

The major labels always looked at these small record companies as farm leagues for the corporate big time. However, after humorless careerists like Nirvana and Pearl Jam turned a profit for the majors, there was a feeding frenzy that decimated the infrastructure of the indie rock scene and left nothing but debt, lawsuits, and recrimination in its wake.

Those were the greatest years of my life. I'll never forget going to all the little clubs around Boston, reading Forced Exposure, and seeing bands like Big Dipper, Salem 66, and the Volcano Suns.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 7:48 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

As somebody who has a general dislike of most forms of "rock journalism" I thought this book was really outstanding. Also great post SomaSoda, thanks!
posted by whir at 8:18 AM on May 9, 2012

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