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SUPERCHUNK w/ The Dodos and times New Viking



  Venue:   The Buckhead Theatre  

Buckhead, Atlanta, GA

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

At long last, we have reached the end of EvilSponge's long journey into Superchunkishness. We have reviewed the records, and here we are at the concert, a sort of reunion / return from hiatus. It has been an interesting journey, and i have enjoyed it. It has taken me back to music that i had not listened to in a long time, and in a way re-invigorated me. After a month of pretty much listening to nothing but Superchunk, i am itching to review anything else, so look for a deluge of reviews of non-1990s Carolinian indie rock in the coming weeks...

But i never just jump to the end of a show, i always try and narrate the whole event. I do this for you, gentle reader, so that you can get a feel for the night, for the experience. I hope it works...

We started the evening just before 7 PM, when i arrived at Malimus's townhouse to find him sitting in the dark looking at baseball websites. Pretty typical actually. When Tracers arrived, we headed out to Hankook for Korean tacos. This is my second experience in Korean-based fusion cuisine, and i am beginning to wonder why Korean food pairs so well with Mexican. This was a delightful meal, featuring pulled pork with a lovely heat. Good stuff.

  Previously, If you had asked me about the concept of the Korean Taco, I would have been rather skeptical. But after a couple of excursions into this fusion cuisine, I have to confess that Iím pretty much a convert. Somehow the spiciness of the Korean meat and sauce is balanced by the relative coolness of the tortillas, cheese, and lettuce. Weird.  

We then trekked over to Buckhead, and to the old Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre, which has been renovated and re-branded as The Buckhead Theatre. Actually, it's been gutted and re-done, not just renovated. You walk into the building, and the entire front half is now one open bar area, with cushioned seating strewn about and huge windows looking out on the traffic on Roswell Road. The old Roxy had a dark feel to it, and the rooms seemed cramped. Heck, most of the new bar area, the entire side to the left as you walk in, was walled off, and i had thought i belonged to the business next door! I wonder what that space was used for in The Roxy years?

Well, the renovators did a fine job. I question one thing though: they carpeted the entire space with a thick, cushiony, butt ugly carpet.

Yes, this in fact is the carpet that runs throughout the entire venue.

It made the whole place feel like a conference center, but what i really question is the logic of carpeting a place that is supposed to be full of drunk people dancing. How long will it take before the carpet is soaked with beer? It just seems like a cleaning nightmare to me, but whatever.

The theatre also has a nice, new, state of the art soundboard.

Just after 8 PM, the first band took the stage. This was the three-piece Times New Viking, who hail from my ethnic homeland of Ohio. They played for about 45 minutes, starting off with some catchy keyboard heavy tunes, then playing some slower and more meandering songs where Beth Murphy added a second guitar. I guess this is their newer stuff, and maybe they just haven't figured out how to do it live. I found that their set dragged a little in the middle, but they picked things back up by ending with about 15 minutes of really early stuff (about 9 short songs) that were fuzzy and fast, that sort of lo-fi punk the band does so well. I definitely enjoyed seeing them again.

Beth Murphy on the keyboards.


I really enjoyed Times New Viking, as I like the way the fuzziness of the guitar is balanced out by the keyboards.  Actually, the most interesting aspect of their set was the way their soundguy actually produced the distortion at the soundboard, via various knobs and a weird little metallic contraption.  Normally, that type of effect comes from the pedals onstage and is controlled by the musicians themselves, if only because relying on someone else to do the effect work requires so much skill and timing on the part of both participants.  Nicely done, all around.

Singing and drumming.


The next act was The Dodos, who have sent us a promo of their album, so i was a little familiar going in. To be honest, their album does nothing for me. It falls into that vast area of stuff that is not bad, but doesn't "wow" me either. I was curious as to how the duo's layered guitar sound would translate to stage.

Guitar dodo.

But they played as a three-piece, adding a second guitarist in to take care of some of the looping effects that Meric Long does on the record.

Extra bonus Dodo.

I found their set dull after the excitement that Times New Viking ended with. The Dodos songs are long and noodling, unlike the short fast focus of TNV.


: At one part during their set, The Dodos seemed to be doing a note for note re-write of Born on a Train by the Magnetic Fields. In fact, both the music and vocals were so close that I actually asked Malimus if they were covering the afore-mentioned tune. However, apparently, it was an "original". I don't know the name of The Dodos' song; however, I guess if you're going to model on something, a band can choose worse things to look at.

Baby, they were born on a train...


Overall, my impression of The Dodos is unchanged. Their music is not bad: it has some interesting layers and rhythms, and some of their songs are pretty fun. But there is just something lacking, something to move them from the category of "OK bands" into the category of "bands i like". Maybe they need a bassist or something, but their music is just too thin to really engage me.

Drumming dodo.

And then, we waited for Superchunk. Excitement was palpable among The Minions, especially after the soundguy set a copy of the setlist on the soundboard, which was right in front of where we were standing.

  Looking at that set list, I was truly excited, especially as I counted at least one song on the list which I had never heard live before. But more on that later.  

They started just after 10 PM. As the band walked on Mac McCaughan commented on how, when having an email discussion about this show, he suggested they start with an older, more obscure song. The band agreed, and they tore into Swallow That, a song which i disliked in our recent review of On the Mouth. At six minutes, it was one of the longest Superchunk tunes to date when they recorded it, and i found it a little meandering. Live, it still meandered.

Superchunk encourage you to Swallow That before pogoing.

They then played two songs off of Majesty Shredding, their 2010 record that EvilSponge did not review. Both were pretty good, and i think that Learned to Surf is my favorite on that record. It has a great pace, and live it really rocked.

And then tore into Seed Toss, and the Minions bounced like idiots screaming along with the band.

Tossing your seeds around...

They followed this up with Hello Hawk, from The Superchunk Record That We Do Not Acknowledge, so i decided to take a quick potty break and then fight my way to front of the crowd for some up close pictures. They played another song from Majesty Shredding as i took photos, waiting for the band to stand still long enough for me to get a clear shot with my cheap pocket camera.

I dreamed you chased down my car...

And then, suddenly, McCaughan and Jim Wilbur began picking out the slow opening melody to Like a Fool while Bassist Laura Ballance and drummer Jon Wurster rested and looked on. The crowd cheered, i put up my camera, and went to stand with the other Minions, as Superchunk tore through this song, the crowd crooning along with McCaughan's lyrics. It was beautiful.

They followed this up with the ferocity of Why Do You Have To Put a Date On Everything, and i could see the crowd on the floor pogoing and screaming along, as we did the same from the raised area behind the soundboard.

  : in all my years seeing Superchunk live, I have never EVER seen them play Why Do You Have to Put a Date on Everything. When I saw it on the set list before the show, I poked at Malimus and Postlibyan and whispered, "look! Look!" in disbelief. And while this was almost a note for note rendition of the recorded version, seeing the band pull this off after all this time was a real treat.  

From there on we bounced and screamed along with the band, as Superchunk whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Animated Airplanes Over Germany was great, especially the slow end part. Nu Bruises really got us going, and The First Part was simply glorious.

Laura Ballance in a rare moment of not bouncing.

The band left the stage after what had seemed like just a few minutes, far too short. Certainly they would come back for two encores, but what would they be?

I have a mandolin...

When the band walked on stage, Jim Wilbur said something about doing a "ridiculous" set of covers. That sounded promising. And then McCaughan made some comment about Stephen Merritt, but i didn't hear the entire comment, as Wilbur began picking out the intro to 100,000 Fireflies and we all started pogoing like idiots and screaming along. I had never seen them do this cover live before, and it was worth the wait.

  : Ironically, when we were working our way through the Superchunk catalogue, the fact that Postlibyan has never heard this song live came up. I kept telling him, "No. No. I have seen it." And in looking through our reviews, lo and behold, one night in Athens I did see Superchunk perform this (and let me tell you, I still can't figure out who I was at that show with, if it wasn't either Malimus or PostLibyan). But I think this time, and in this location, 100,000 Fireflies ruled and proved once again that Superchunk owns this song, even if they didn't write it.  

They played a couple of covers by old Atlanta punk band Neon Christ, and i have to admit i am not all that familiar with the band. These songs were a minute long, and just really fast power chords and some screaming. Whatever. They followed this with four early classics culled from their catalog, fast songs that kept the crowd going. I was disappointed that Fishing did not descend into the Black Flag cover version, but was very pleased when they followed this up with Throwing Things.

Jim Wilbur is throwing things down at you.

The lights and sound system came on, and i thought that Throwing Things was a fine way to end the set. People began filing out, and i hurried out to the restroom, thinking it better to not have a bladder full of beer before riding through winding back streets in Malimus's truck on the way out. But of course there was a line. As people chatted, suddenly the sound system stopped and we heard the band back on stage. "Hurry up people, it's the second encore," i encouraged them along.

I made it back in time to scream "If it weren't for those laughter guns you're riding on" as the band played Hyper Enough. Again, i bounced like a fool and screamed along, happily excited. It was a great way to end a set, but also guaranteed that i would be wound up for another half hour or so...


: It was so nice to end with Hyper Enough, because every set should end with a great anthem. Yeah yeah, they didn't do either Precision Auto or my much loved Detroit Has a Skyline, but the whole set was still brilliant.

More importantly, I was totally impressed by the age range of the folks who were there. There were teenagers who may not have even been born when Superchunk recorded My Noise and there were folks who made us look like youngsters. Likewise, from talking to a nice couple we met at the show, there were people who came out to see Superchunk even though they only album they'd ever heard was the most recent, Majesty Shedding. It was broad range of people, and not just fans like us who can (over-)analyze the band's entire career. And I'm not sure of many groups (especially in the Indie rock arena) who can still bring in both new and old fans.


Overall, this show was worth it. A truly great set from a band i love. As a bonus tonight we got a set with four (4!!!!) tracks off of Foolish, one of my favorite records ever, and one which they do not play live much. But in general i am very glad that EvilSponge went back through the band's catalog, since i had honestly forgotten a lot of these truly great songs.

Who knows what the future will hold for Superchunk, but i hope that they do not make us wake another ten years for a show as exciting as this one.


Swallow That
Learned to Surf
My Gap Feels Weird
Seed Toss
Hello Hawk
Rope Light
Like A Fool
Why Do You Have to Put a Date on Everything
Crossed Wires
Animated Airplanes Over Germany
Nu Bruises
Digging for Something
Driveway to Driveway
The First Part
Everything At Once

100,000 Fireflies (The Magnetic Fields cover)
Winding Bad Influence (Neon Christ cover)
Neon Christ (Neon Christ cover)
On the Mouth
Slack Motherfucker
Throwing Things

Encore 2:
Hyper Enough

Related Links:

Times New Viking:
The Dodos:
Also on EvilSponge:
   Introduction to Superchunk
   Album: Superchunk
   Album: No Pocky For Kitty
   Album: On the Mouth
   Album: Foolish
   Compilation: Incidental Music 1991-95
   Album: Here's Where the Strings Come In
   EP: Laughter Guns
   Album: Indoor Living
   Album: Come Pick Me Up
   Album: Here's To Shutting Up
   Concert: Thu.8.Sep.11


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