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Boston Spaceships/Big Dipper, 30 Sep 2008

30 Sep 2008 · No Comments

Back in April, I wrote this about Big Dipper:

But if they pull a “Mission of Burma”-style return to active duty (and I hope they do), I would love to see/hear them again when they have another few shows under their belt, hopefully in a better-sounding room, and when I’ve had a chance to rein in my own unrealistic expectations a bit.

Damn, I’m prescient. Original bassist Steve Michener was missed, especially on “Ron Klaus Wrecked His House,” “Hey! Mr. Liconoln,” and “Faith Healer,” tunes to which generally capable fill-in man Tommie could not quite bring the required subtlety. But on the whole September 2008 Dipper seemed more sure-footed than April 2008 Dipper. Bill Goffrier had a little trouble pacing his voice through the set, but saved plenty of vim and vigor for the encore (”You’re Not Patsy”). And, most promisingly, there was a new tune (”Joke,” according to Bill’s shirt) with the typical Dipper earmark: just when you think you’ve got it pinned down, it takes a sharp left turn without becoming an iota less catchy. As an added bonus, after all these years, I’m finally clear on who is Bill and who is Gary Waliek. Bill is on the left:
Bill Goffrier and Gary Waleik of Big Dipper
Big Dipper seemed to feel constrained by their set time, so we didn’t get to hear two of the songs on Bill’s shirt, “Meet the Witch” and “Guitar Named Desire.”
Setlist printed upside down on shirt for easy during-gig reference
We did, however, get to hear: Mr. Woods, She’s Fetching, Loch Ness Monster, Wake Up the King, Lunar Module, “Joke,” Edith, Bony Knees of Nothing [Gary: Here's one from our bad album. Bill: He's cute, he's real cute], Hey! Mr. Lincoln, Ron Klaus Wrecked His House, All Going Out Together, Younger Bums, and a rousing earned-encore rendition of You’re Not Patsy:
Bill Goffrier of Big Dipper
Bill says “Oh, yeah!!”
Bill Goffrier of Big Dipper
I do, too.

Also, Bill said a word to me! It was “Hi.” I was struck dumb.


Boston Spaceships were really friggin’ good. It’s a little scary sometimes to watch Pollard: at times, he seemed like the incoherent rambling man you’d want not to sit next to on the bus. But he can still sing. And the band, critically, stayed a little less soused. There was a hellalotta beer on stage, but there was also some vitamin water.

Tommy Keene brought much rock and gave great guitar cord:
Tommy Keene

Jason Narducy brought much rock. But do not throw a beer at this man! He does not like it when you do that.
Jason Narducy

Chris Slusarenko and John Moen brought much rock too, but I didn’t manage to photograph them doing it very well. This is maybe a good time to mention that “Rat Trap” rocked so hard and so well I didn’t even recognize it.

Selected bits of Bob Pollard’s wisdom:

“I remember playing the ‘rat back in 1978″ (much laughter).

Much love was expressed for Dipper and Bill Goffrier’s moves, in particular “the circle,” but I didn’t capture it verbatim.

Robert Pollard

“That was fucking prog rock [mumble] Peter Gabriel. It moved me. I don’t give a shit what it did to you, but it moved me.”

Robert Pollard

“Drunk and tight — if you can do that, you’ve got it made.” Which is a good point to get heretical: I saw Guided by Voices only twice, and neither was a typical GbV experience; one was an outdoor festival with the classic lineup, and one was the co-headlining tour with Cheap Trick. But Boston Spaceships might be a better band than GbV. Moen’s an awesome drummer, Narducy kept up with him, and the guitar onslaught of Slusarenko and Keene was nigh onstoppable. So I felt a bit bad about this:

Robert Pollard and enthusiastic fans

People were pretty much going apeshit all night, but the end of the first encore was “Game of Pricks” and everybody went really apeshit. (Incidentally, I do believe the club did not want the band to play a second encore — one of the few times I’ve seen the house lights go back down after coming all the way up.*) From there on out it was all GbV: A Salty Salute, Motor Away, [I think I forgot something here], Cut-Out Witch, and Tractor Rape Chain. And this band and this band’s material deserved better than to get the biggest response of the night for the other band’s songs. But here’s why I was going apeshit, in especial particular: because I could feel just how much Chris Slusarenko had dreamed of playing these very songs and how much he love playing them, and because I know how very much fun most of those songs are to play myself. So there’s that.

* It’s gotta be a bit of a double-edged sword to book Pollard into your club. You know your drink sales are gonna be a New Year’s Eve levels, but so are your cleanup requirements.

Tags: 2008 · b · indie rock · live · the paradise lounge

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