Sebadoh’s current tour tests if a band is really more than the sum of its parts. Both openers for Sebadoh were…parts of Sebadoh. Jason Loewenstein and Bob D’Amico kicked things off as Circle of Buzzards. Then Lou did a solo set on ukulele. Then they all came together for a Sebadoh set. Not gonna lie, it was a little bizarre. Lou’s solo work is fantastic and very different than Sebadoh. So that was awesome, if still a little weird since he was opening for himself. But Circle of Buzzards was just plain awkward. They basically sound like a poor man’s Sebadoh. It wasn’t different enough to sound like its own entity. And when the only change that you’ve made is removing the best part of Sebadoh, well, I don’t know how I’m supposed to be impressed with the results.
In addition to the amazingness of an all-ukulele set, Lou Barlow wins bonus points for commenting on my newly acquired Weezer Cruise Alumni t-shirt (thank you to YR reader Denise for the awesome birthday present) as Sebadoh took the stage. Somehow, despite the fact that they played three sets, I missed all of Sebadoh’s shows on the cruise. Two nights they conflicted with Ozma and one night they conflicted with Weezer’s Pinkerton show. I caught half of one of Lou’s solo shows on the cruise and saw Dinosaur Jr. once, but that was it. So I was relieved when Sebadoh came to DC.
The band opened strong with “Flame” “Rebound” and “Ocean.” Over the course of their very long set they covered material from most of their albums, including several tracks off their recent Secret EP, with Lou and Jason trading off on vocals along the way (I generally prefer the Lou-vocal songs). The only notable song missing for me was “Skull.” If anything, the set was a little too long. Normally I’m not one to complain about set length – the more songs, the merrier. But the show was a late start to begin with and I had to be at a wedding the next day so at about 1am, I wouldn’t have been sad if they stopped. But they kept going for a while and I couldn’t make myself leave early. I imagine that all the patrons without a midday wedding to attend the next day loved the super long set.