Entries tagged with: Mission of Burma
Mission of Burma at Riot Fest Chicago 2013 (more by Kirstie Shanley)
Mission of Burma don't have a tour scheduled at the moment, but they've announced what is currently a one-off opportunity to catch the indie rock veterans in NYC on February 7 at The Bell House. Tickets for that show are on sale now. Stay tuned to see if other dates are announced.
Live video below...
photos by Cory Dewald
The Replacements / Pixies
For a band that thrived on an anything-goes approach to performing, the Riot Fest show ran with relative precision, with barely a pause between songs. Despite tossing the clock, [Paul] Westerberg and the boys finished precisely at 10:30 p.m. Everything on the set list was at least 23 years old. But the 25-song, 75-minute performance brimmed with energy and heart. Nostalgia it was, but there was nothing formulaic or phoned-in about it.Chicago's Riot Fest (the second of three Riot Fests happening this year) wrapped up this past Sunday (9/15) with sets from The Replacements, Pixies, Rocket From the Crypt, Bob Mould, Mission of Burma, Quicksand, Touche Amore, Peelander-Z, Brand New, Best Coast and more. One set of pictures from that day is in this post, and a second set with more bands
Looking like thrift-shop dandies with their splashy mismatched clothes and spiky hair, Westerberg and Stinson cracked jokes, blew a few lyrics, and laughed like they were just banging out tunes in their garage. They stayed loose but kept the pace brisk, with plenty of help from Freese's dynamic drumming and the bow-tied Minehan's concise lead guitar.
Westerberg's voice sounded appropriately rough and gritty on the opening "Takin' a Ride," the first song on the first Replacements album, "Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take out the Trash" (1981), and the sneering "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out." But he also found the tenderness in a song ("Androgynous") that rhymes "kewpie dolls" with "urine stalls." [Chicago Tribune]
photos by P Squared Photography
Mission of Burma @ Maxwell's - 7/28/13
Boston indie rock vets Mission of Burma, who have played Hoboken rock club Maxwell's many times over the years, returned on Sunday (7/28) for their last two shows at the venue (early and late). Like many of the bands playing one (or two, or three) last shows at the venue, the MoB guys had some kind stuff to say about Maxwell's on stage. Boston Globe reports:
"It was always such a welcoming place for Boston bands," said Burma bassist Clint Conley, who thinks MOB played at Maxwell's three times between 1979-1983. "It was a place for dedicated listeners. You'd play a big room in New York, like Danceteria, and that was a tremendous honor, but it was filled with trendy scenesters. You'd play Maxwell's and the people were there to hear you." He said the experience was no different Sunday. "There's no question love was in the room," said Conley. "Love was on stage, blasting at 110 decibels, and love was in the audience."NJ.com adds that on stage Conley said, ""We liked coming here because this was always a safe place for weirdos."
We caught the late show (Moby caught one too), and pictures from that show, including one of the setlist, are in this post.
They continue below...
Mission of Burma at Strawberry Fest 2013 (more by Lukas Hodge)
We recently mentioned that Boston indie rock vets Mission of Burma would be playing one of the final shows at Hoboken venue Maxwell's on July 28. That show quickly sold out, but if you missed out on getting tickets, or just wanna pull a double header, they've since added an early show happening that day (6 PM). Tickets for the early show are on sale now.
In related news, Texas is the Reason are playing Maxwell's too.
Updated MoB dates are listed below...
Mission of Burma at Strawberry Fest 2013 (more by Lukas Hodge)
We were just wondering if Maxwell's would be announcing any shows in the empty spot this Monday, but we know for sure that they announced a show in the previously empty Sunday, July 28 spot. That day, Boston indie rock vets Mission of Burma will headline one of the venue's final shows. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
All upcoming MoB dates are listed below...
photos by Lukas Hodge
Mission of Burma @ Strawberry Festival, 5/10/2013
Mission of Burma and Merchandise joined Library Time to play Strawberry Fest off of NYU's campus during the day on Friday (May 10th). The free show was one of two scheduled for the Merchandise guys, who performed solo sets at 285 Kent later that night.
More pictures of MoB and Merchandise from NYU's Strawberry Festival are below.
Merchandise on Lamar Pedestrian Bridge (more by Amanda Hatfield)
In addition, the band dropped off a new short film for "Rush of Blood," available for viewing below. The film was "conceptualized, directed, and edited by frontman Carson Cox with an original score by guitarist Dave Vassalotti."
Mission of Burma at Bowery Ballroom in January (more by PSquared Photography)
We just mentioned that Merchandise will be playing NYU's Strawberry Festival, which goes down on May 10 at LaGuardia Place from 12:30-4:30 PM, and is free, all ages, and open to the public. It's since been announced that post-punk veterans Mission of Burma will headline the festival, which is even more reason that this is going to be a good show. The bill also includes Library Time and one more TBA.
It's Mission of Burma's only North American date that we're aware of before the band heads over to Europe in June. Meanwhile, MoB member Roger Miller's old band Sproton Layer has shows coming up too, including one in NYC on July 26 at Mecury Lounge. Tickets for that show are still available.
All dates are listed, along with a video, below...
Sproton Layer at the Little Theatre, Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor, MI. May 1970
Back in 2011 we talked to Mission of Burma's Roger Miller:
What's going on outside of Mission of Burma?That reissue of Sproton Layer's With Magnetic Fields Disrupted came out in 2011 and you can stream a track below. World in Sound will reissue Sproton Layer's second album, Press Your Hand and the Whole Room Fluctuates (recorded 1969-1971), next year.
Well the group Sproton Layer, which was my band in 1969 and 1970, who was very kind of psychedelic, that album is getting reissued on a German psychedelic label called World in Sound and that's kind of exciting. I think they're going to do two CD's, and there's going to be a 20 or 30 page booklet with all these psychedelic drawings from when I was in high school.
Meanwhile The band (Roger and his two brothers, Laurence and Ben, plus a trumpetist) have gotten back together and decided to tour Sproton Layer this summer. Says Miller, "The band has decided not to drop acid again or run around in the woods smoking joints, but this should not keep them from delivering their very psychedelic sound in a convincing manner." Those dates include one in NYC at Mercury Lounge on July 26. Tickets for that show are on sale now and all known dates are listed below.
photos by PSquared Photography
Mission of Burma at Bowery Ballroom - 1/18/13
Mission of Burma were just over in Europe for a tour and upon returning home they stopped in NYC for a show at Bowery Ballroom on Friday (1/18) before playing a hometown show in Massachusetts on Saturday. They played a bunch of material off 2012's Unsound but also reached back to their Vs./Signals, Calls, and Marches period for tracks like "Dead Pool," "Academy Fight Song," and "Nu Disco," and they worked in a cover of The Stooges' "1970" before the encore.
The show was opened by Exclamation Pony, the new-ish project of Ryan Jarman (The Cribs) and Jen Turner (Here We Go Magic). More pictures of the show and both bands' setlists are below. You can also listen to audio recordings of MOB playing "1970" and "Good, Not Great" at Bowery Ballroom below, and download the entire show at NYC Taper.
Mission of Burma at Prospect Park in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Post-punk mainstays Mission of Burma are about to kick off a European tour in December, which begins with their appearance at the Shellac-curated ATP in the UK. Upon returning to the US, they'll be playing two just-announced east coast shows. First they'll play NYC on January 18 at Bowery Ballroom, and the next day (1/19), they'll play a show in their home state of Massachusetts at Cambridge's Sinclair. A fan pre-sale for both shows begins today (10/23) at 10 AM and tickets to the Bowery Ballroom show go on sale to the general public Friday (10/26) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (10/24) at noon.
Last month, Mission of Burma made a video for "Semi-Psuedo-Sort-of Plan" off this year's Unsound. Check out that video and a list of all upcoming dates below.
The Jesus and Mary Chain at Osheaga 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
today in NYC
* The Moving Sounds Festival
* Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Pistol Annies @ Terminal 5
* Suzanne Thorpe @ The Stone
* Hunter/Gatherers @ The Stone
* Field Report @ Union Pool
* CMA Songwriter Series @ Joe's Pub
* PG Six, Ember Schrag @ Zebulon
* Amon Tobin, Holy Other @ Welmont Theatre
* Scott Kettner's Orgy in Rhythm @ Barbes
* B. Fleischmann @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
* Bennio Qwerty, Cosmonaut @ Glasslands
* Samo Soundboy, Jim-e Stack @ Glasslands
* Kansas, King's X, That 1 Guy @ Best Buy Theatre
* preview show @ Original Music Workshop
* Turbo Fruits, Roomrunner @ Mercury Lounge
* Paperdoll, The New Velvet @ Mercury Lounge
* Com Truise, Lusine, Michna (DJ) @ Art Directors Club
* Alberta Cross, The Ludlow Thieves @ Bowery Ballroom
* Ex Cops, Alia and Zoe sing jazz, James Levy @ Cameo
* Maximo Park, Zambri, Stagnant Pools @ Webster Hall
* William Elliot Whitmore, Samantha Crain @ City Winery
* Why?, Doseone, Serengeti @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* WIN WIN, Steel Phantoms, Behavior, Beast Patrol @ Pianos
* Catbirds, Rain Machine, Cathy @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
* Philip Jeck & Ted Riederer, Ken Montgomery @ Issue Project Room
* Desert Sharks, King Prom, Wet Nurse, Magnetic Island @ Cake Shop
* N Jetty M, Aaron Maine, Cameron Wisch, Celestial Shore @ Big Snow
* Hard Bodies, Money Now, Nice Purse, Hard Nips @ Shea Stadium
* Wax Poetic, Hess Is More, Love Trio, Clark Gayton @ (le) poisson rouge
* Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry, Jon Glaser, John Mulaney @ The Bell House
* Janeane Garofalo, Justin Silver, Christian Finnegan @ Eastville Comedy Club
* The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychic Paramount, The Vandelles @ Irving Plaza
* Roulette Celebrates One Year in Brooklyn - Anthony Braxton "Two Ensembles (NYC) 2012
Tonight is the first of two nights The Jesus & Mary Chain will be playing at Irving Plaza. Be sure to get there early for openers (and BV-faves) The Psychic Paramount. Tickets are still available. Check out the video for JAMC's 1990 single "Head On" below.
The fifth-annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival starts tonight at The Bell House with a stacked (and sold out) bill featuring Todd Barry, John Mulaney, Jon Glaser, and TBA special guests!
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A short film collaboration between Doveman and Tom Kalin is screening at BAM tonight. as part of "Tom Kalin Shorts Program". You can also watch the short film called "From Silence" (NSFW), below...
Hospitality, who'll play Bowery Ballroom in November, just made a revved-up video for their song "8th Avenue" and you can watch that below.
Mission of Burma also have a new video, theirs being the track "Semi-Pseudo-Sort-of Plan" and you can watch that below.
Check out the new vintage porn filled video from Icky Blossoms, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Wild Flag/Mission of Burma at Prospect Park - 8/3/12
This summer's free Celebrate Brooklyn shows in Prospect Park continued on Friday (8/3) with a great co-headlining double bill of Wild Flag and Mission of Burma, and support from a solo Ted Leo set. People began lining up in Prospect Park at least a half hour before doors opened and by the time Ted Leo began his set at 7 PM many of the chairs had filled up and others took more casually to the grass area in the back, some of who were sitting on free blankets provided by show sponsor Google Play (who also had a stage at Lollapalooza over the weekend).
The entire bill was made up of artists who have left a lasting stamp on indie rock, and all three were terrific as usual. Ted Leo's opening set included a number of Pharmacists songs, and he also revealed two new ones for the first time (one of which you can watch a video of below). He was both modest (he called a performance of one of the new songs "half baked") and in good spirits the whole time, cracking wtty jokes like, "This next one's for Park Slope, it's called 'The Little Smug Supper Club.'" (Though at the end of the song he said, "I shouldn't talk, I live in Brooklyn Heights.")
After Ted, Mission of Burma kept things going with a set which continued to prove, four albums into their post-reunion career, that they are still a necessary band. The new material is just as genuine as the early-'80s output and the band members are just as (or more) lively and youthful than many of the bands who took after them. Drummer Peter Prescott is playfully sarcastic while the other members keep a bit quieter with stage banter but create massive levels of noise with their instruments -- especially guitarist Roger Miller, whose playing is equally sloppy and noisy as it is precise and melodic, not unlike J Mascis who he likely had influence on.
Then Wild Flag closed out the night with a killer set made up mostly of material from their 2011 debut, including standout tracks like "Glass Tambourine," "Boom," and "Romance," plus deeper cuts like the always-intense "Racehorse," which was a bit less drawn out at this show than past performances, but still one of Carrie Brownstein's most shining moments in the set. They also mixed a few new songs into their set, like they've been doing at other 2012 shows. Upon returning for their encore, Carrie said that since they were in New York, one of the greatest places for music, they'd play some NY covers. The band then proceeded to bang out covers of Television's "See No Evil" and Patti Smith's "Ask the Angels," doing more than justice to both songs. A video of both covers is below.
The free Celebrate Brooklyn shows in Prospect Park continue on August 10 with Little Dragon and Frankie Rose. More pictures and videos from last Friday's show are below...
Wild Flag at Pitchfork Fest 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro // BBG)
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's IFC show Portlandia is currently working on its third season, and if you want to see it in action, you can now go to Portland and see Fred and Carrie filming episodes for the new season (via Huliq). There's also an ongoing bicycle tour of where past and future episodes have been shot.
In related news, you can catch Carrie Brownstein in NYC TONIGHT (8/3) at Prospect Park where her band Wild Flag will play a FREE Celebrate Brooklyn show that they're co-headlining with Mission of Burma. Ted Leo will open the show with a solo set. Doors are at 6 and Ted Leo goes on at 7, followed by Mission Burma at 7:45 then Wild Flag at 9:15. Ted Leo, who plays in NYC a lot, is saying that this is his only hometown show until the end of October. It's also Wild Flag's only upcoming show except for FYF Fest, but Mission of Burma have a bunch of upcoming dates, all of which are listed below.
As mentioned, Wild Flag and Mission of Burma have a split 7" with WF's "Boom" and MoB's "What They Tell Me," which will be available exclusively at tonight's show. There's also a limited edition poster for the show which you can enter to win if you RSVP to the show's facebook event. That poster, the 7" cover art, streams of both songs from the 7", and a list of all dates are below.
Wild Flag at Pitchfork Fest 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro)
As you're possibly aware, Wild Flag and Mission of Burma are playing a free Celebrate Brooklyn! show in Prospect Park on August 3 with Ted Leo. To commemorate the show, the two headliners are releasing a split 7" that will be sold at the show, with Wild Flag's "Boom" on one side and MoB's "What They Tell Me"on the flip. Both songs are previously released but it's still a cool little keepsake. Look for it at the merch table. You can check out the single's cover art below along with a stream of Mission of Burma's contribution.
Wild Flag are taking it easy this summer. The Prospect Park show and FYF Fest in L.A. in September are the band's only two current upcoming gigs. Meanwhile, Mission of Burma's new album, Unsound, came out last week and the whole thing is streaming via Spotify. The band have a decent slate of tour dates coming up, all of which are listed below.
Ted Leo at Maxwell's on NYE (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As hinted at in a Celebrate Brooklyn facebook post at the end of last month, Ted Leo was added as an opener to the free Mission of Burma/Wild Flag show at Prospect Park (8/3).
As mentioned, he'll also be in NYC even sooner for a taping of How Was Your Week? with Julie Klausner at The Bell House on June 27 with Jim Gaffigan, Katie Notopoulous, and Martha Plimpton. That show is sold out. No other Ted Leo dates to report at the moment.
The video for "Bottled In Cork" from 2010's The Brutalist Bricks is below...
That's the cover art of the new Mission of Burma album called Unsound which will be out July 9, 2012 via Fire Records. The tracklist, featuring some songs you may recognize from their recent shows is below along with a stream of new song "Dust Devil".
Mission of Burma return to Brooklyn on August 3rd when they'll share a bill with Wild Flag as part of a free Celebrate Brooklyn show at the Prospect Park Bandshell. It's one of three upcoming Wild Flag shows which are listed, along with the MoB album info, below...
photos by Erik Erikson
"...It's time to stop calling Mission of Burma an "influential band"...Mission of Burma played Music Hall of Williamsburg on January 19th with Eula and Static Jacks, followed by a pair of Boston shows at Brighton Music Hall on the following two days. As stated above and on their website, Mission of Burma is currently working on their new LP, though so far no details have been revealed.
...Of course they are influential, but did you suffer ear trauma and go deaf right before May 2004? Burma tipped their musical output scales towards NEW compared to OLD in 2009!...
About eight or nine songs in [to the Music Hall of Williamsburg show on 1/19], I turned to my cousin and my girlfriend, (the usual Burma crew: we've probably seen Burma together eight or nine times) and I said, "They haven't played any OLD OLD songs yet ... Fuck influential!"
Mixed into that were NEW NEW songs that haven't come out yet and I imagine are on the new record that Burma recently finished recording and I expect to come out some time after the ground thaws. They played six brand spanking new songs by my count... and a few of the new songs were a lot louder and more chaotic than anything on The Sound The Speed The Light. Drummer Peter Prescott had a lyric sheet in front of him and roared behind the kit for two of the new songs, which makes me think the new album may be more like The Obliterati, which was heavy on Presscott singing songs. But I won't even really think about it until it comes out because every Burma album is its own." -[ShortWaveRockin]
More pictures from Brooklyn show are below.
Mission of Burma at Beekman Beer Garden in August (more by Chris La Putt)
Like they have the last two years, Mission of Burma will play NYC (and as of now, also Allston, MA) this January. Their short run of dates brings them to Music Hall of Williamsburg on January 19 with Howler and The Static Jacks. Tickets go on sale Saturday (12/3) at noon. No sign of whether or not a bigger tour will be announced or not, but all of the currently announced dates are below.
In other news, ft.com reports that
Barack Obama has authorised the highest-level US diplomatic mission to Burma in half a century, in an effort to accelerate reforms introduced by the country's authoritarian government.Good luck to Hillary
The US president announced on Friday that Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, would travel to Burma on December 1. Long treated as pariahs by the west but courted by China for their country's natural resources and strategic position on the Indian Ocean, Burma's rulers recently released more than 200 political prisoners and vowed to implement further economic and political reforms."
photos by Chris La Putt
Mission of Burma played the final free show of the summer at Beekman Beer Garden on Sunday with The Labor Party. A set of pictures from that show, including one of their setlist, below...
The number of great and FREE NYC shows set for this summer grows by the day, and now we have a new set to occupy six Sundays. The new Beekman Beer Garden at the South Street Seaport will host a six week "Beach Party" series kicking off on July 10th.
With the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and East River as their backdrop, the respective bands will take the stage on the Beekman Beer Garden's 200-ton sandy beach at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoons.Check out the schedule and flyer below...
Presented in association with producers involved with the indie-oriented Seaport Music Festival on Pier 17 (south side) and the RiverRocks series on Pier 54, the Beach Party concerts are free, and limited to 1,100 people. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and all shows are 21 and over.
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Frisicano
The "Our Band Could Be Your Life" tribute Sunday night at Bowery Ballroom ran more than four hours with 14 bands playing the music of 13 bands (plus a special encore act that covered Nirvana). Set changes were kept short, and bands generally played about 10-15 minutes (between one and four songs). Unannounced guests included Tim Harrington and Lee Ranaldo singing the Minutemen, Craig Finn playing the role of Minneapolis cop, and Dan Deacon's multimedia barrage and three-piece band. More highlights, lots of pictures, and a bunch of videos (UPDATE: NPR has audio of the show) are below...
review & photos by Chris Gersbeck
Mission of Burma @ Maxwell's
I don't think I've missed more than a couple of New York City area Mission of Burma shows since I accidentally caught them at the Stillwell Stage at Siren Fest in '04. At that point in the band's history, they were still a somewhat recently reunited group, but clearly devoted to something more than just a few reunion performances. This was a group that was not so much reunited as they were picking up where they left off in 1983, anxious to write and record groundbreaking music yet again. Seven years and three (fantastic) full-length albums later, Mission of Burma have even further embedded their place in music history, a sort of indie music myth for our times.
So it goes without saying that these two shows, at Maxwell's on 1/28 and Bell House on 1/29 (both of which sold out) were met with excitement from the most devoted of Burma's fans. The band has become known for hand picking their opening acts, and in the case of these shows, they did an excellent job with both. New York City's Grandfather (not to be confused with Grandchildren) opened the Maxwell's show on Friday, a threesome with clear inspiration from Mission of Burma's unique timing and song structure. Their songs were dark, but meticulously written, with a heavy emphasis on rhythm. Grandfather's drummer, a highly energetic and precise musician, took on lead vocal duties as their guitarist and bassist flung themselves around on stage throughout their set. In hindsight, it made perfect sense when their guitarist told me before the show that Bob Weston and Steve Albini were behind their debut record. Check this band out (their next show is at Party Expo in Brooklyn 2/7/11).
Though I missed most of Buke & Gass's set at the Bell House on Saturday due to problems at the door, what I heard was great. A male-female duo from Brooklyn, both played seated, the percussion coming from a single kick drum stuffed with tambourines and a set of bells wrapped around the guitarist's ankle. Though highly melodic in contrast to Grandfather's set, you could tell why MoB tapped them to open, and they definitely had their share of fans in the crowd. Their next show is opening for Deerhoof at Europa, and then for Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson at the Stone.
Due to MoB's practice of choosing their setlists by committee just before hitting the stage meant getting two completely different sets between the two nights. The intimate (yet utterly explosive) Maxwell's performance initially consisted of later period Burma songs, opening with the Obliterati's "Donna Sumeria" and eventually hitting the Sound, the Speed, the Light's "1, 2, 3 Party!" and ONoffON's "the Setup". Smattered among the set was a slew of new material too, which is shaping to be yet another great set of songs from the band.
But their encore at Maxwell's is what made the crowd just completely lose themselves. As soon as Roger Miller began strumming the opening chords of "This Is Not A Photograph", the entire front of the stage became a group of pogo-ing lunatics. I don't think I've ever seen crowd surfing at a Burma show, and if you know the small space at Maxwell's you know there isn't much room to surf, but as soon as Clint Conley said, "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" a rather enthusiastic fan catapulted from the stage into the crowd and somehow remained elevated for much longer than gravity should have allowed. Following with B-side "Max Ernst" and closing with the anthemic "Academy Fight Song" left everyone wanting more; in fact most people refused to leave until the house lights came on.
Luckily another Burma performance was just around the corner. Their set at the Bell House on Saturday was filled with just as much energy as the night before, but relied more heavily on material from their 1981 EP Signals, Calls & Marches and their only proper full length before their breakup, Vs. Pete Prescott's shouts from behind the drumkit sounded just as aggressive as ever, while Clint Conley's overdriven bass made older songs like "Mica" and "Fame & Fortune" sound even more furious than their studio counterparts. As much as I believe "underrated" describes Mission of Burma on a number of levels, one of the greatest aspects of MoB that goes unnoticed may be Roger Miller's unique slide guitar technique, particularly when soloing on songs like "Spider's Web". Bob Weston on tape loops provided those iconic swirls of noise during and between songs, reminding you that the band's fourth member is just as important to the Burma sound as any of the members on stage. And how great is it that when they launched into their most well known song, "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" during the first encore, I hadn't even considered that it wasn't played in the set yet, or at all the night before. Overwhelming response demanded a second encore, which consisted of the opening track from Vs., "Secrets", and again ending with "Academy Fight Song". Something tells me that if Roger Miller hadn't jokingly said, "Thanks, please go home, now," the crowd would have stuck around for even more.
For more Roger, check out Chris's recent interview and check out Alloy Orchestra in NYC on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For more Bob, don't miss Shellac at ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror in Asbury Park. For more Mission of Burma, check out NYC Taper's recording of the Brooklyn show, and the rest of our pictures from both NYC-area shows with setlists, below...
Roger Miller (Mission of Burma) @ Maxwell's (more)
"Of all the punk-inspired bands that came out of Boston in the early 80s, none were better than Mission of Burma. Arty without being too pretentious, capable of writing gripping songs and playing with ferocious intensity, guitarist Roger Miller, bassist Clint Conley, drummer Peter Prescott, and tape head Martin Swope galvanized the city's alternative rock scene, and despite a too-short existence, set a standard for excellence that has rarely been equalled -- a standard the band upheld when they unexpectedly reunited in 2002." [AllMusic]Mission of Burma has two announced shows coming up in the near future. On January 28 you can catch them at Maxwell's in Hoboken with Grandfather (tickets). On January 29 they hit the Bell House with Buke and Gass (tickets). A few days later Roger will be back for three more NYC shows with his less-punk trio Alloy Orchestra.
BV photographer and writer Chris Gersbeck caught up with Roger on the phone on Monday. Here's what they talked about...
Chris: How are you doing?
Roger: Pretty good, I'm in Vermont, I'm kind of in a mountainous area which is why my cell phone doesn't work.
We're excited to talk to you, thanks for doing this. Last time I saw you guys you were opening for Yo La Tengo for one of their Hanukah shows.
[laughs] That was pretty out of control.
How did that come about, I know the connection with Clint producing their debut, but do you all still keep in touch?
Yeah, we're friendly with them, we've played festivals with them and shows. There's a few bands around that I consider to be kind of like us in the sense that they started a long time ago and they still exist. You know, they aren't a new band, but they're still a band, they're a band of veterans that people respect and to some degree Burma is like that. Sonic Youth, Shellac, these are kind of people that are similar to us in my mind. Wire.
words and photos by Chris Gersbeck
Last night was night six, and Yo La Tengo played their fifth night of Hanukkah shows on Sunday (12/5), with their eight night stay at Maxwell's quickly coming to an end. I can only imagine the amount of exhaustion that comes from planning and rehearsing these shows, though you'd never know it thanks to consistently great performances from Ira, James and Georgia.
The legendary Mission of Burma, who just may be the greatest long-running live act of all time, were tapped to open the night. Playing almost entirely new material, along with a slew of covers including the Buzzcocks' "I Don't Mind" and the Wipers' "Youth of America", Burma continue to prove that they're one of the few, if not only bands to reunite and still produce material as innovative as in their heyday. And maybe I just haven't seen them live in a while, but Roger Miller's new hairdo is fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in January.
Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac was the comedian guest of the night and his act was well received by the crowd. Cenac's stories were at times a bit convoluted, but the payoffs were definitely worth it. Apparently he and fellow correspondent John Oliver have a show coming in 2011 to follow the Colbert Report, which makes perfect sense.
It's kind of amusing that Yo La Tengo opened with the somber and mesmeric "Green Arrow", considering how intense their set would later become. Tearing through "The Room Got Heavy", Richard Hell's "I'm Your Man", and ending with "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss", Yo La's songs often collapsed into long, droning swells of feedback. Adding to the noise collage was Burma's tape-looper (and Shellac bassist) Bob Weston, who was sitting in with the band for the night, albeit from the soundboard. Manipulating YLT's vocals, guitars and percussion throughout, Weston added that unique quality that has become synonymous with Mission of Burma's sound.
All of this lent itself well to the encore, first with Roger Miller returning on organ to perform Jonathan Richman's "Astral Plane" with WFMU auction winner Jason Kaufman on vocals (who did a great job), then with MoB drummer Pete Prescott singing one of his and Weston's Volcano Suns songs (Weston came out to play bass on this one). Before long, Clint Conley also returned to the stage on guitar to perform as the supergroup I personally have dubbed "Yo La Burma". To say it was incredible to watch is an understatement. It's not too often you get to see things like this happen in such an intimate venue, so if you get the chance to check out any of the remaining shows, definitely do so.
More pictures from the fifth of eight crazy nights at Maxwell's are below.