January 18, 2010
That Was The Show That Was: Mission of Burma | The Paradise | 16 Jan.
[File Photo: Jay Breitling] You’ve gotta give the guys in Mission Of Burma credit. They haven’t been content to just get the old band back together and play somewhat lucrative gigs at festivals and in college towns (I’m looking at you, Pixies).
Since reuniting in 2002, the storied Boston-based trio has already surpassed its 1979-1983 output: Mission Of Burma has released three excellent studio albums and managed to maintain the blistering live sound it developed the first time around. Over the weekend Burma played two shows at the Paradise to showcase material from its latest album, The Sound The Speed The Light (Matador).
On Saturday, the band played to a near-full house and, as with the several shows I’ve seen them do over the last eight years, they showed no signs of slowing down. Maybe they don't play as many gigs as they used to, but the ones they do play pack a punch. Unlike previous Burma shows, the crowd at the Paradise Saturday seemed a lot younger. Guitarist-singer Roger Miller and bassist-singer Clint Conley kept up a breakneck pace while drummer-singer Peter Prescott kept things light with plenty of his patented hollering and between-song wisecracks. Bob Weston provided tape loops from his perch at the mixing board.
Miller, whose problems with tinnitus led to the band’s 1983 breakup, no longer wears the industrial headphones onstage, opting for in-ear plugs. As with fellow ’80s indie rock guitar gods J. Mascis and Bob Mould, Miller continues to play at ear-splitting volume. Conley pounded out frenetic bass runs and seemed to have fun responding to Prescott’s remarks and pointing out familiar faces in the crowd.
The 75-minute set was packed with songs from the three newer albums -- "1, 2, 3 Partyy!!!" and "SSL83" from the latest release and "Spider's Web" and "2wice" from The Obliterati were standouts -- as well as choice cuts from the band's first incarnation. These included "The Ballad of Johnny Burma," "This is Not a Photograph," "Dumbbells," and the post-punk classics "Academy Fight Song" and "That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate." Conspicuously absent was the band’s signature song, "That’s When I Reach for My Revolver."
Burma also broke out a few brand new songs, including "Hi Fi," which Prescott announced was "fresh off the production line." If the new stuff is any indication, it looks like we can expect more great things from the band in the future. -- Jay Kumar
Mission Of Burma -- "1, 2, 3 Partyy!!!" -- The Sound The Speed The Light
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Previous Mission Of Burma Coverage:
That Was The Show That Was: Mission Of Burma | 6/14/2008
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Review: Not A Photograph | The Mission Of Burma Story [DVD]