August 26, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Joe Pernice | Lizard Lounge | 8.25.2011

[Photos by Michael Piantigini]

It's been a little over a year since the Pernice Brothers released their latest album Goodbye, Killer (my review here), but now's as good a time as any for a second leg of "touring" for it (the short run continues tonight with a show in Virginia and winds up in New York on Saturday> these shows have sadly been cancelled on account of Hurricane Irene). It actually seemed more like a stretching of the legs for Pernice, who explained that he was working to finish the next Pernice Brothers album, which he says will be called Spread The Feeling. The release date is not yet set, but one imagines that it won't be 'til the new year, since the big news of the night was the near-reunion of Pernice's revered 90's outfit Scud Mountain Boys. This, apparently, a preview of full-on reunion shows by the band targeted for this December in Boston and New York, as alluded to from the stage and confirmed by Pernice's management's Twitter feed.

Big news and great fun, indeed! Pernice warmed up the crowd with a few great Pernice Brothers tracks, including the title track from the last album, and long time favorite "Bum Leg," (technically a Big Tobacco song) which is as perfect a piece of songwriting as there is. All prelude to the night's centerpiece, as Scuds bassist Stephen Desaulniers and drummer Tom Shea (here playing mandolin) joined him on stage. Lead guitarist Bruce Tull was the only one missing, more than ably filled-in for by Pernice Brother Bob (Tull is on board for the reunion, according to Pernice). For a group of guys that reportedly hasn't seen or talked to each other in over a dozen years, they sounded fantastic. They started off with a stunning run through of "Gypsys, Tramps, and Thieves" that had miles more heft than the Cher version, and continued with tracks from each of their albums: "Freight of Fire," "Silo," Olivia Newton John's 1975 hit "Please Mr. Please;" all from the 1995 Pine Box and Dance The Night Away albums collected on the Sub Pop The Early Year CD; along with "Holy Ghost" and the sublime (yeah, I said it) "Scratch Ticket" from their seminal 1996 breakthrough, Massachusetts.

There were reports leading up to the show anticipating the reunion, but I certainly didn't expect such a long, great set from them. Can't wait for December.

You'd think this would be plenty of show, but no - Pernice went on to play a wide ranging set of his solo material for about another hour. He seemed to be riding the high of the reunion along with the rest of us. The late show (there were two this night) ran two hours, and was worth every moment.

This was my first time hearing opener John Brodeur, and his solo presentation comes off as a kind of quirky folk. A familiar form, but with plenty of his own bent to make it ear-catching. A listen to his new Tiger Top Ten album this morning reveals there's a lot more going on here. Some folky stuff, sure, but there's lots of pop (chamber pop and otherwise) and indie strumming in there too, at times sounding like a more singer-songwritery Pavement even. Give him a listen.

-Michael Piantigini

Joe Pernice: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter
John Brodeur: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter

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