Published Feb 12, 2011Having already done their cult favourite Bubble and Scrape in its entirety for the Pitchfork Music Festival a few years back, Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and new drummer Bob D'Amico are back with a tour based around their hit indie albums Bakesale (1994) and Harmacy (1996). Both records were critically acclaimed in the mid-'90s and pushed Sebadoh to the height of their popularity. Alongside other recent '90s reunions for such acts as Archers of Loaf, Guided By Voices and Pavement, Sebadoh are now playing to larger audiences than they did in their heyday, thanks to the old fans wanting to catch at least one last glimpse of the band they grew up with and a new generation of listeners wanting to see them for the first time.
The Rickshaw Theatre and its all-ages permit was the perfect setting for Sebadoh fans old and new. The three-piece began with a slowed-down version of Harmacy's "On Fire." The rest of the set, however, remained true to the original songs, with little deviation found in fan favourites like "Skull," "Rebound" and "Ocean."
Loewenstein and Barlow traded spots and instruments every few songs, each taking a turn at the mic. Loewenstein's tracks -- usually the more raucous in the Sebadoh catalog -- had a small section of the crowd at the front flailing away, while the more sentimental Barlow numbers caught a few of the older fans belting out the heartfelt lyrics right alongside him.
Though the night was billed as a Harmacy and Bakesale revue, Sebadoh snuck in a handful of tracks from their 1993's Bubble and Scrape. Loewenstein's "Sister" and "Sixteen" were blasted out with punk-ish vigour, and Barlow's "Forced Love" ignited another crowd sing-along.
Some have written off this Sebadoh reunion as a cash grab, but the conviction of a band some 15 years removed from theses songs, performing them as if they were on tour in 1994 and eliciting ecstatic energy from the transfixed crowd, should be enough to silence the naysayers.