The last time I had the chance to see Sebadoh live was 12 years ago at Reading Festival’s main stage, cheerfully knocking out a brief "greatest hits" set on an uncharacteristically warm and sunny Saturday afternoon. Despite the early slot, it was for my money one of the day’s most enjoyable performances along with those from Sleater-Kinney and Pavement who also played early and convinced me that the festival would have been a lot better with its line-up reversed (ok, it would have been ridiculous to kick it off with Blur, but is there anyone who seriously misses Catatonia, The Divine Comedy or Fun Loving Criminals now?).
Fast forward to this August and our trip to Berlin and here’s my chance after all these years to catch up with the revitalized Sebadoh in the midst of a tour promoting the recently reissued "Bakesale", perhaps the band’s best LP. Not surprisingly, it was this album’s track list that dominated the glorious hour and a half set, with indie rock gems like "Rebound", "Skull", "License to Confuse", "Careful", "Magnet's Coil", "Got It" et al. having once again the chance to shine and remind us how thrilling the contrast between Lou Barlow’s melodic anthems and Jason Loewenstein’s powerful punk ditties can be. The soon to get the reissue treatment "Harmacy", another highlight of Sebadoh’s less lo-fi mid ‘90s period, also contributed to the night’s fun with "Beauty of the Ride", "Ocean", "Too Pure" and "Mind Reader" being among the set’s top moments, while there was still time for a few older favorites like "Freed Pig", "2 Years 2 Days" (great work by drummer Bob D'Amico who, according to Lou, never played it at a gig before) and "Sister".
Sebadoh’s thoroughly enjoyable, passionate performance not only reminded us exactly why we loved them back in the ‘90s, but it also proved that they still got what it takes to indie-rock hard in the these guitar-rock starved days. Just "gimme indie rock!", as they once shouted, and how about some new tunes as well?
Here’s the night's approximate set list from a photo taken by Stelios (the Greek element was in full force down the right side of Festsaal Kreuzberg’s stage and we all got the matching T-shirts to prove it!):
Sebadoh - Rebound, live @ Festsaal Kreuzberg, (August 8, 2011)
Sebadoh - Beauty of the Ride, live @ Festsaal Kreuzberg, (August 8, 2011)