Published May 02, 2011It was just one of those nights. Corin Tucker was onstage telling a story of skipping her high school prom to go see Mecca Normal, who were opening on this night, and it was one of those "coming full circle" moments. If it hadn't been for the duo of Jean Smith and David Lester, Mecca Normal's influence wouldn't have rubbed off on Tucker and her subsequent work with Heavens to Betsy, Sleater-Kinney and now her solo project.
Earlier in the night, the 100 or so folks gathered in the quaint Media Club in downtown Vancouver were treated to a rare local performance of Mecca Normal, with Smith alternately weaving comedic tales of online dating with more sombre numbers from the duo's earlier material. Smith's tongue-in-cheek mid-song commentary had the audience laughing out loud while Lester's whirling guitar windmills added intensity to their simple guitar/vocals strip-down.
When the Corin Tucker Band started their set amidst maracas, keyboards and cowbells, it was clear that Tucker's debut solo album, 2010's 1,000 Years, was going to be fairly represented. It was safe to say that no seasoned audiences members expected her to drag out any material from her previous bands. Instead, Tucker, her sparkly dress and her even sparklier smile ran through most of 1,000 Years, highlights including the raucous "Doubt" and the frenetic "Half a World Away," the latter's serpentine rhythm pulled tighter than the skin on drummer Sara Lund's snare.
Which brings us to Lund, an ex-member of Olympia wall-of-sound trio Unwound. It was a treat watching her deliver pitch-perfect background vocals to Tucker's unparalleled wail (mustn't be easy), all the while locked into precise bashing and bringing back the realization of why Unwound were always such a monster.
After working through most of 1,000 Years, Tucker's band (also consisting of Golden Bears' keyboardist/guitarist Seth Lorinczi and bassist Mike Clark of Stephen Malkmus's band) did a glorious cover of the Undertones' "True Confessions," which they credited with reverence. But the best moment of the night was when Tucker invited Mecca Normal back onstage for a fairly haphazard version of 1,000 Years' title track, in which the oft-serious songwriter had a curious grin on her face; sharing the stage with the two people who helped to shape her musical journey was obviously a thrill for her. Full circle, indeed.