January 16, 2010

Rock Over Boston | Joe Pernice | Lizard Lounge | 1.14.10

Joe Pernice
I am perpetually behind on my reading - probably because I'm spending too much time on this here series of tubes - but having now twice seen the author read a few pages from it, Joe Pernice's It Feels So Good When I Stop is begging to be bumped up the pile. His contribution to the 33 1/3 series, a novel about The Smiths' Meat Is Murder, hit a chord within those of us who have grown up marking time by an expanding music collection. The vibe of that book, along with the feeling of familiarity that you get from listening to a musician's work over a long period of time, exemplifies a sort of common aesthetic - one maybe even more specific than, say, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, which had many of me and my music-obsessed cohort fairly creeped-out at how well he had captured our times. Pernice's view is more from the inside than Hornby's. The passage that Pernice read on Thursday night from his latest had the narrator's roommate singing along to Mudhoney, so yeah, been there.

Though Thursday night's show at the cozy, excellent beer list-having Lizard Lounge was ostensibly in support of that new novel and its scene-setting, all-covers soundtrack of the same title, Pernice played only one selection from it, Del Shannon's "I Go To Pieces," accompanied (on this and a few other songs) by Pernice Brother Bob Pernice on guitar and harmonies.

Of the handful he played, the highlight catalog track of the night was easily "Grudge Fuck," which goes back to Pernice's Scud Mountain Boys 1996 breakthrough classic, Massachusetts (and re-recorded on the Pernice Brothers' last one, 2006's Live A Little) I'd say that it's one of those once-in-a-lifetime classics for a songwriter, except Pernice has a few. "Bum Leg," from 2000's Big Tobacco is another, but we were deprived of this when Pernice was temporarily flummoxed by the somewhat elaborate requests being laid out by Boston rock impresario Billy Ruane. A few bars, a capo adjustment, and out.

All this made time for him to preview several new songs from his apparently completed, forthcoming in some as yet undetermined future, new album to be titled Goodbye Killer, according to Pernice. In the solo format at least, the new ones sound to like they are on the folkier end of Pernice's style; the narrative character driven stuff that he's so good at. If there's going to be as much of the sunny pop we love on Pernice Brothers albums on the new one - and Ric Menck's involvement suggests there is - we didn't get as much of that, but then it's been a while since we've spent time with this side of Joe Pernice anyway. These solo shows, which we wish were more frequent, are a rare treat.

-Michael Piantigini

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Joe Pernice at the Lizard Lounge, 1/14/2010 Setlist:
Goodbye Killer (new)
We Love the Stage (new)
Man Descending (new, working title)
Grudge Fuck
(book chapter)
I'm Not the Loving Kind (new)
I Go To Pieces
Amazing Glow

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