The Warehouse tour received a lot of attention from the mainstream press.
The Courant is Hartford's longstanding newspaper of record.
|C2 THE HARTFORD COURANT: Monday, March 23, 1987|
But from the latest of the Minneapolis trio's growing stack of records and especially in live shows, it's apparent that the band has not only grown out of the confines of hard-core punk, but also has tapped into a pure, light-giving, positive energy source.
From the way they careened around the stage to the opening chords of their show at the West Hartford Ballroom Saturday night, one would think the electricity from their instruments ran directly through the musicians as well.
But it was more than the sheer, impassioned energy of the performance. The echoing words in the songs by guitarist Bob Mould and drummer Grant Hart, who traded-off lead vocals all night, seemed to echo survival, hope, perseverance and pushing on.
It meant a lot from the band, which had postponed the tour for five weeks because of the suicide of their manager, David Savoy Jr. For the musicians as well as the audience, the music is a way to cut through all the world's burdening negativity.
For all that, though, it was an odd, almost perverse set, consisting almost entirely of the band's new double album, "Warehouse: Songs and Stories," performed in order from beginning to end. During the encore, they played a handful of other songs, such as their sonic rendition of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High."
It gave a sort of thematic unity to the evening and a freshness to the players, who were further energized by performing mostly new material. At its worst, the songs began to take on a certan sameness, lacking the pacing earlier songs might have given the show.
Still, it was surprising how much variety was afforded from just the
"Warehouse" songs. Hart blended old folk melodies into his strong ballads,
"She Floated Away" and "Flexible Flyer," one of the few older songs they
Mould would drop the speed rhythm chords on his Flying V guitar for a few guitar solos as he did in the supercharged rockabilly of "Actul Condition."
And bassist Greg Norton, perhaps the only person in the hard-core field with a handlebar mustache, even sidled up to the mike to lead one song.
For all the positiveness of the music, though, there was the negativeness of the warehouse in which they were playing. Early on, during a blistering
version of "You're A Soldier," somebody
Hart's drumset with a full beer bottle. It stopped the band for a second, and
after the song, Hart ran to the front of the stage to curse whoever did it.
Later, gleeful fans who let their excitement manifest itself in anything
resembling slam dancing were brutally ejected.
The evening began with another refreshing trio. Christmas is a three-member band from Cambridge that mixes a wry on-stage patter with old-style mock guitar theatrics and better-crafted pop hybrids.
Michael Cudahy did all but cartwheels while playing lead guitar; Liz Cox managed ethereal vocals over her solid drumming, and bassist Dan Salzmann kept his long hair under a stocking cap for most of the exuberant set, to the mostly tepid response of the youthful crowd.
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