Archers of Loaf
90s indie band Archers of Loaf is celebrating the recent reissue of their back catalog courtesy of Merge Records by taking their earnest, driving rock ‘n roll on the road …
Toronto trio METZ opened the show with a sonic mallet to the skull. Having recently signed to legendary Sub Pop records, the band didn’t mess around with pleasantries, delivering a loud and fast set that lasted less than a half hour.
Archers of Loaf soon took to the stage before a sold-out crowd of die-hard fans, kicking into “Audio Whore,” from the 1994 EP VS the Greatest of All Time. Although the band had reunited for a handful of shows in 2011, this is AOL’s first big tour in about 14 years with drummer Mark Price, bassist Matt Gentling, guitarist Eric Johnson and vocalist/guitarist Eric Bachmann playing like no time had passed at all. But “playing” is such a weak word to describe just how powerful and energetic their delivery was. Hard, melodic songs like “Revenge” (off VS the Greatest of All Time) and “Harnessed in Slums” (from 1995’s Vee Vee) stirred the audience into a gleeful frenzy while anthemic tunes like “Wrong” and “Might” (both off the classic 1993 record Icky Mettle) encouraged fans who weren’t already singing along to raise their voices, sometimes outsinging Bachmann himself. The band ended with Gentling trading his cool silver bass for keyboard for the synth-y “White Trash Heroes.” After a few minutes off stage, AOL returned for a three song encore including the intriguing “Dead Red Eyes” with Bachmann sitting in a chair, playing his tiny Casio keyboard. “Slow Worm” led the band out, each man putting one last note into the atmosphere before waving goodbye and disappearing backstage.
Watching Archers of Loaf pummel their instruments, scream harmonies into the hazy club air and sweatily roam all over the stage put to rest any question as to why this band reunited. The music speaks for itself; that catchy, angular rock and roll that had the masses bouncing up and down like they were teenagers. After 21 years, Archers of Loaf are still blowing minds and busting ear canals.
Archers of Loaf at 400 Bar, Minneapolis (08/25/12)
(special thanks to Abbey Janicek and Andrew Sikora)