CLIP-MoB, Watt, Silkworm in L.A. (don't look, Carl)
- Mission Accomplished for Indie Gods
Wed Jul 31, 5:09 AM ET
By John Carmen
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Band reunion tours have become big business in the past few years, but generally, the groups in
question had hits or a large following in their time.
Mission of Burma -- considered by some to be the father of indie rock -- had neither. While the band was enormously popular in
its hometown of Boston, it wasn't well known much outside of a rarified underground circuit that would not fully develop until Burma
disbanded and was semi-replaced by another guitar-driven, psychedelically influenced American group, R.E.M ( news - web sites).
Twenty years later, the trio (augmented by tape loop operator Bob Weston) and their legend have grown to the point where the
band is playing theaters worldwide, as the members' schedules and health allow.
Rumbling, angular and distinctly early '80s (as with Joy Division or Gang of Four, the bass carries most of their melody), the trio
opened the first of two short sets with "Playland" and proceeded through most of their recorded material (available reissued on
Rykodisc), including the band's two underground "hits," "Academy Fight Song" and "That's When I Reach for My Revolver," which
have been covered by R.E.M. and Moby, respectively. Because of guitarist Roger Miller's severe ear damage (cited as the primary
reason that the group disbanded in 1983), the setup was very odd, with Miller playing behind his amp and drummer Peter Prescott
cordoned off behind Plexiglas.
As with many reunited bands, the musicianship has not only aged well but improved; indeed, Prescott, a hit-or-miss drummer 20
years ago, has become a real powerhouse, and as a result, Burma sometimes approached the sheer raw power of the Who at its
Unlike that venerable band, Burma has no lead singer or front man, but on the encores, the three were joined by ex-Minuteman
Mike Watt for a version of the Stooges' "1970." Watt opened the show with an organist and drummer and basically soloed nonstop
on his bass through his set, albeit with great skill and energy.
Second act Silkworm was less impressive, offering generic mid-tempo "alternative" with a slight country lilt and awful lyrics.
Perhaps sharing the bill with these great craftsmen of the pounding rock song will rub off on the band in a positive way.
Mission of Burma (El Rey Theater; 700 capacity; $27.50)
Presented by Goldenvoice. Band: Roger Miller, Peter Prescott, Clint Conley, Bob Weston. Also appearing: Silkworm and Mike
Watt. Reviewed July 27, 2002.
- --On Wednesday, July 31, 2002 11:01 PM +0000 wfsilvers
> Second act Silkworm was less impressive, offering generic mid-tempoHeh, slight country lilt. (Tempting me with that "don't look" you naughty
> "alternative" with a slight country lilt and awful lyrics. Perhaps
> sharing the bill with these great craftsmen of the pounding rock song
> will rub off on the band in a positive way.
popster.) Well, they made Variety...
Speaking of lilts -- though English folk, not country -- Linda Thompson's
aptly-titled _Fashionably Late_ is a fine return to form. I'm reviewing it
for the station and on first listen, it's a very strong collection of
doleful folk songs with a hint of rock. Fans of Richard & Linda Thompson's
mid-70s acoustic work will love it, not least because Richard and a few old
Fairporters and English folk mafia play on the very bright, acoustic disc.
And despite struggling with vocal problems two decades ago, Thompson's
voice is very strong and warm. Warning: she sounds nothing like Silkworm,
even though many of the songs are midtempo.
- --- In fearnwhiskey@y..., Carl Zimring <cz28@a...> wrote:
>"naughty popster." I like that. <g> I'm a cheeky monkey. I figured you read everything written here, so the "don't look" was just a friendly warning.
> --On Wednesday, July 31, 2002 11:01 PM +0000 wfsilvers
> <wfsilvers@y...> wrote:
> > Second act Silkworm was less impressive, offering generic mid-tempo "alternative" with a slight country lilt and awful lyrics. Perhaps sharing the bill with these great craftsmen of the pounding rock song will rub off on the band in a positive way.
> Heh, slight country lilt. (Tempting me with that "don't look" you naughty popster.) Well, they made Variety...