I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to see the Meat Puppets so I headed on down to the 400 Bar this weekend and re-lived some of my 20-something years. I had seen the Meat Puppets twice, once in 1984 at Duffy's when they were still pretty much a punk outfit and then in 1988 (or 1989) when their concerts were face shredding rock shows (here's a downloadable concert from that era). Now some 20 years later, would they still bring the rock or would too many years and too many drugs sap the Meat Puppets of what made them so cool to begin with?
I am happy to say that the Meat Puppets can still throw down. I was constantly amazed that a three member band could make so much noise. Curt Kirkwood still has those stringy vocals and plays a loud guitar while his brother Chris is just as freaky as ever on the bass. One of my favorite early moments was during Up On the Sun. They start out pretty straight but then at the end it's just wild guitar loops and feedback. Now that was cool enough, but every so often Chris would saunter on over to the mic and yelp. It was amazing and just blew me away.
(O.k. here's an aside about modern technology. If you are going to go to a concert, zoo, dance recital, baseball game whatever and plan on taking video, make sure your camera is charged up! I was taping the aforementioned song, when 2 minutes into it my camera's batteries died. So I have Up On The Sun taped, but only the mellow first half and not the freaky second half. I was able to coax a few more pictures out of the camera, but there was never enough juice to tape anything. Sorry).
The one great thing about a Meat Puppets concert is that you never know what you are going to get in the later half. Same deal Friday night. Besides all the Meat Puppet favorites we also got How Great Thou Art, A Closer Walk with Thee oh and Greg Norton (late of Husker Du) playing bass on Tomorrow Never Knows. How cool is that?!? There were a few other wacky covers in there too, but my mind is a little foggy from the vodka.
All and all a great time, and a great band. I am glad that the Meat Puppets are "too high to die" and still making fun music some 25 years after I first came across them.