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The Weakerthans / Maritime / Mico: live in Clevelandlive in Cleveland (2003)
Reviewer Rating: 5
I've probably been to the Grog Shop dozens and dozens of times, but honestly since it moved at the end of this summer, all the shows I've been interested in enough to go to have been elsewhere, so I hadn't had the chance to scope out the famous venue's new location. I figured though that this would be an excellent chance to. I heard the new Grog Shop was considerably bigger than the old one, and I hoped so since the last time the Weakerthans played Cleveland it was PACKED. I made sure to get advanced tickets although they didn't sell out in advance (the Anti-Flag show that was before it at the Grog did).
After exploring the nice new venue, I wandered over to watch Mico preform their set. I hadn't heard anything of theres, but somewhere I thought I read a review of an album that was supposed to be good. Well, I didn't remember the review saying that the band was derivative and boring emo-punk. Typical for the now beaten-to-death genre, the band started out with a pretty verse which made me believe I might be in for some soft Seam-type stuff, but then went into the distorted powerchord chorus we've all overheard. I wandered off, got a PBR tallboy, and watched the Yankees/Red Sox game with most of the crowd (including the dude himself, John K). Behind me Mico kept playing their exausted blend of emo, which lacked any catchiness to me.
Next up was Maritime, who I was definately excited for. When I showed up that night I spotted Davey Von Bohlen outside, and then saw posters that said "ex-Promise Ring, ex-Dismemberment Plan". I would find that they contained the bass player from Dismemberment Plan, and Davey and the drummer from TPR. I haven't been listening to the Promise Ring lately, but I was starving for something great. They played about eight songs, checking in on the baseball game in between. The material sounded like it would've fit great inbetween Very Emergency and Wood/Water with the energetic bouncy pop songs of the former, and the soft chords (and a couple soft songs) of the latter. I enjoyed it a lot, yet I can't say I was "blown away". I picked up their tour EP afterwards (limited edition, I'm a sucker).
The Weakerthans quickly took the stage (I love it when bands "quickly" take the stage) and introduced themselves with "Fuck the Yankees, we're the Weakerthans" and then launched into "Aside" (I think, blame the Pabst). I remember when I went to see the Weakerthans for the first time and I was very afraid that I was going to be dissapointed in the band who created such amazing music on record, but such a thing definately didn't happen. The Weakerthans have some sort of charm that must be because they're from Canada, that makes them completely likable. They manage not to screw up their live interpretations of the songs, yet also add some improvision and extra bits of goodness, that make live tunes so great.
Lessee if I can remember the playlist...
After a brief break (which I never understand) they came back on and played "One Great City!" "Everything Must Go!" and then (thank God) "Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist" and "Diagnosis" from Fallow.
Now looking back on this playlist (obviously reconstructed, hehe, from album listings), they played a pretty lengthy set, but it went by extremely quickly. and Don't distress if some of your favorite songs aren't on this playlist, because in the half-dozen or so times I've seen them play, I think I've heard nearly everything, they do a great job of mixing up from night-to-night.
A great show, my favorite band.
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