A month into their West Coast tour, The Corin Tucker Band and Mecca Normal’s show at the Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco made me realize I'm not the only one who has succumbed to 90s nostalgia, and this is a great thing for some.
Mecca Normal opened with “Art Was Great Leveler”, a love song about relationships and class. They’re one of my all time favorite bands because 1. Watching a duo has a different dynamic than every trio/team. I’m not sure which would be more difficult. 2. Jean Smith is always saying something interesting onstage, in this case mostly borrowed from her recent novels 3. David Lester somehow takes the place of an entire band with his guitar work, which retains early art/math rock leanings, while swinging the guitar around like a true showman, and pulling a million sounds out of the thing without using pedals.
Smith thanked Lester for being “the most patient guitarist ever” for bringing down his performances in all the right places for her to give hers, and I am always glad to see them turn a rock club into an experimental performance space for the night.
Second, The Corin Tucker Band seemed to have a more difficult time turning a rock club into one. Corin’s voice remains strong through years of punk warbling, Sara Lund’s drumming was dynamic as ever, and the Jick’s Mike Clark and Golden Bear’s Seth Lorinczi certainly were rocking. I think the energy of the room could have been improved with a good old fashioned mosh pit. Can rock and roll not incite nostalgia in the 21st century? It’s been almost eighteen years since Tucker wrote “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” and following it up with “Joey” shows I’m not just speculating on the nostalgia part.
My favorite part of seeing the band live was watching Lorinczi alternate between guitar and keyboard, but doing so in the same song, without taking his guitar off. This kind of DIY flourish reminded everyone that punk rock doesn’t have any rules, and if the same band can make a small club feel like the audience is too close to a rock stage, the members of The Corin Tucker Band have not strayed too far from the right musical path.