Archers of Loaf Republik, Calgary AB June 23

Archers of Loaf Republik, Calgary AB June 23
Sled Island 2012's last evening was packed with can't-miss sets, but for fans of '90s indie rock, there was really only one choice of Sled nightcap. Touring in support of their ongoing reissue campaign, Archers of Loaf played to a packed Republik on Saturday night.

Despite some measure of commercial success, the Archers always felt like a band that you only knew about -- a music nerd's little secret while everyone else listened to [insert marginally talented but ultimately unfulfilling '90s band here]. The show at Republik thus felt oddly like some sort of college radio reunion: everyone in their late 20s or 30s, but with a glint of recognition for one another, and for a common pool of nostalgia.

The Archers themselves were supremely tight, despite playing on someone else's gear (frontman Eric Bachmann used an iPad app to fill in for a keyboard that remained at the Calgary airport). Bassist Matt Gentling bantered wittily with the crowd while Bachmann remained taciturn, the four-stringer bouncing and high-stepping his way through every song, clearly thrilled to be where he was. And why shouldn't they be? Like the Pixies, the Archers of Loaf legend has only grown since their 1998 breakup -- this reunion means they can get some credit where it was most certainly due.