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Mike Watt released ‘Hyphenated-Man’, played it live

by Andrew Frisicano

Mike Watt

Mike Watt and the Missingmen blasted through the entirety of Hyphenated-Man, Watt’s third opera, as he’s fond of saying, without a pause at their sold-out Monday show at Mercury Lounge, the second of two stops the band made in the NYC-area on its 50-plus-date tour.

For an album comprised of one- to two-minute songs, there’s some humor in the fact that it’s a 40-minute marathon live, spewed out in a continuous stream of riffs and digressions. The band—Raul Morales on drums, and Tom Watson on guitar—added grime and sweat to those movements, from the whispered “mouse-headed-man” to the violent “man-shitting-man,” hitting their dynamic starts and stops with precision. Listening to their interactions, the vibrancy of Minutemen-derived sound has never been more apparent. As always, Watt delivered earnest, playful lyrics in his distinct working-class drawl.

For the encore, we heard some Tom-sung tunes, as well as Minutemen classics like “Toadies” and “The Glory of Man,” before a goodbye to the too-short night: “The bottom line of the third opera is that life is for learnin’,” said Watt. “So thank you for being in the classroom tonight.”

Mike and the band are keeping a tour diary at Mike’s site. Some of the many words Mike wrote about the NYC stop include…

I make my way through way packed room to stage – there’s nels and mrs yuka, whoa… I am fucking nervous now, crimony! so glad there’s a hand rail, so glad. I get up on stage and thank folks for coming on a work night and the other bands for letting us share the stage w/them. we bring forth the piece… fuck, no monitors – I know soundman kyle is trying as I give motions – at one point even a plea alongside a cussword even but to no avail. I fucking mime this entire gig. it is very difficult, very frustrating. I can’t put nuance where I want, especial when the band gets tiny – even at those points, they’re ain’t shit. christ, you know I want “a poor carpenter blames his tools” to be more than a platitude but fuck, is this difficult. I do get the spiel to “stuffed-inside-the-drum” right but fuck if I can hear it. I do try hard not to let the sitch bum me out and connect much w/levity spirt w/tom and raul. “funnel-capped-man” has huge tom clams in one part but as bob-san later puts it “the clams were celebrated more than scorned” meaning he thought it was a good thing. astute analysis from bob-san. the nyc gig-goers are very respectful, very quiet in the quiet parts and such for the most part – big respect. I can see through the doors to the bar (even w/the busted glass taped up) and there’s no one there, everybody’s tuned into the gig. it’s one of the most focused-in crowds for the piece, I think – one up there anyway and I’m thinking this is adding to the frustration of fucking miming it but I have to say I’m glad I didn’t give in too much into getting panties bunched up over this bullshit non-existent monitor giving any vocal to me thing. I think I blow some clams in the last solo of the last part – fuck, in the last part of the last solo even… I let tom ring out the chord before I bring in the final – at least that one is ok. whew. the gig-goers are most kind and have us back – there’s a way for me to get behind raul, righteous. this is where I like to be for the encores. we have fun, we thank the gig-goers.

The rest of the tour dates are below…

Mike Watt & the Missingmen – 2011 Tour Dates
wednesday, april 6 at t.t. the bear’s place cambridge, ma
thursday, april 7 at la sala rossa montreal, qc, CANADA
friday, april 8 at mavericks ottawa, on, CANADA
saturday, april 9 at horseshoe tavern toronto, on, CANADA
sunday, april 10 at brillobox pittsburgh, pa
monday, april 11 at grog shop cleveland heights, oh
tuesday, april 12 at magic bag ferndale, mi
wednesday, april 13 at radio radio indianapolis, in
thursday, april 14 at blueberry hill saint louis, mo
friday, april 15 at schubas tavern chicago, il
saturday, april 16 at shank hall milwaukee, wi
sunday, april 17 at high noon saloon madison, wi
monday, april 18 at turf club saint paul, mn
tuesday, april 19 at slowdown omaha, ne
wednesday, april 20 at the bottleneck lawrence, ks
friday, april 22 at larimer lounge denver, co
saturday, april 23 at the complex salt lake city, ut
sunday, april 24 at neurolux boise, id
monday, april 25 at doug fir portland, or
tuesday, april 26 at the media club vancouver, bc, CANADA
wednesday, april 27 at the triple door seattle, wa
thursday, april 28 at sam bonds garage eugene, or
friday, april 29 at bottom of the hill san francisco, ca
saturday, april 30 at blue lamp sacramento, ca

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