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Saturday 8 April 2023

Saturday Live

Last Saturday's Saturday Live post was Husker Du in blistering form in 1985 in London. Today brings Minnesotan contemporaries The Replacements (also included in Thursday's Andrew Weatherall post and mix). The Replacements- Paul Westerberg, Tommy and Bob Stinson and Chris Mars- were by all accounts a raucous and chaotic live experience, often self sabotaging, screwing their own songs up, lurching into fragments of covers and often too drunk to stand up never mind play. At a showcase set up specifically for them to impress record label bigwigs they got pissed and pissed everybody off. When they appeared on Saturday Night Live they were so drunk/ stoned (backstage with Harry Dean Stanton) Bob Stinson fell over making his way to the studio and broke his guitar. The programme banned them from appearing again. 

On the other hand Peter Jesperson saw them in 1980 at a local venue and signed them on the spot. He became their manager and cheer leader, keeping them going when the only person in the audience at the gig was Jesperson himself. In February 1986 they played at Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey. Their label Sire (and RIP Seymour Stein, Sire's label boss and guiding light, who died just this week) recorded the show for a possible live album. It finally saw the light of day officially in 2017, a double CD set of twenty nine songs. It is a fine document of the band on a good night, a band with enough great songs to fill much bigger venues and a counter to Bob Stinson's assertion that 'there are no good Replacements live recordings'. In one eight song run in the first half of the gig they play these songs, guitars trebly and fuzzed up, the four players locked in, Paul singing his self- deprecating lyrics, raw and good voice...

I Will Dare (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Favourite Thing (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Unsatisfied (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Can't Hardly Wait (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Bastards Of Young (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Kiss Me On The Bus (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

They also play Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out and Takin' A Ride as part of that run of songs and then follow Kiss Me On The Bus with Black Diamond. Occasional dropped notes and tuning issues but they sound great, alive and far from the sloppy mess they're often portrayed as. 

Five years earlier they played this set, filmed at 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis. Husker Du headlined- imagine seeing both bands on the same night in 1981. This is faster, punkier stuff, mainly focussing on songs from Sorry Ma, I Forgot To Take Out The Trash. Fast and furious, twelve songs in twenty five minutes.


Marc said...

Thanks for posting these. I would have been wary of buying any live Replacements album, for all the reasons you mention - but they seem to have been on fire that night in Hoboken. R.I.P. Bob Stinson, and R.I.P. Seymour Stein. Stein's memoir from a few years ago is worth reading, by the way.


Swiss Adam said...

Thanks Marc, been meaning to read that. The Repalcemnrts book is on my list too