[Photo Credit: Jeff Breeze] A hipster in a bandana, a tight Deer Tick t-shirt, and girls jeans cut through the crowd heading for the bar. He was so out of place it was tough not to notice at this show, since nearly everyone else crowding into The Met in Pawtucket had seen Small Factory before, and it had been 17 years since their last show. The people were all the same, most wearing t-shirts of the same vintage, though restraining a few more beer bellies. Both opening bands, Flower Gang and Honeybunch played their first shows in just as long. On stage, the band looked remarkably preserved, with guitarist Dave Auchenbach even sporting the same Ramones-esque haircut. Only bassist Alex Kemp's graying temples reminded the crowd of how much time had passed.
With this being their hometown (ok, the club used to be in Providence) reunion gig and the last of a short string, the band was as chatty with their between-song banter as ever. When drummer Phoebe Summersquash launched directly into the clicks of “Valentine” as the the last chords of “Hi, Howard, I’m Back” [video 1; video 2] faded, Alex halted progress asking, “Why are you in such a fucking hurry?” The casual pace made the gig feel as though you were hanging out in the living room with some friends rather than being in a club with 500 other people all reminiscing together, wishing that we could find more music that holds this sort of lasting grip.
With a set that clocked in at just under an hour, everyone was left with a song or two they wish the band had played. Small Factory seemed invigorated by the chance to play these songs again and hang out with old friends, but they had played all they had re-learned. The trio made it through these near-forgotten songs with only one big halting stumble (in the midst of “Howard”). The soundmen valiantly kept the feedback (from ringing cymbals) at bay while allowing Phoebe’s harmonies to be heard. Mostly there was a life to these songs that made it seem as though the band had merely picked up the pause button for a moment and gave the crowd a lucky chance to witness it.
Before the set closer “Suggestions,” Auchenbach mentioned that it was the song that he would share with people who wanted to know what Small Factory was all about. It was his response to Kemp earlier in the set revealing that “Happy To See” was the number he felt the band just kept trying to rewrite. While both of those songs set the template for what the band was, their encore of “Junky on a Good Day” into “Last Time That We Talked” was a perfect example of the tension and release that made Small Factory a band that shouldn’t be forgotten. Shows like this should keep people talking. -- Jeff Breeze, Special CorrespondentSmall Factory: Internerds | Facebook | YouTube
For When You Cannot Land
What To Want
I'm Not Giving Up
Happy To See
Hi, Howard, I'm Back
I'm Not Afraid
Junky On A Good Day
Last Time That We Talked