Not only is the guy in Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh (and don’t forget Folk Implosion/Deluxx Folk Implosion/The New Foke Implojun/Sentridoh/Lou Barlow & Friends), but my old friend Lou Barlow is a rather stonking songwriter in his own right. You knew that, right?
Barlow’s currently wrapping up an NorfUhMerican tour for his latest bit of musical goodness, Goodnight Unknown. He’s out on tour with his buddies The Missingmen (Tom Watson and Raul Morales of Mike Watt fame) and The Backstage Rider went along for the ride – well, at least to Seattle and the most excellent Tractor Tavern. Best way to spend the first day of summer, really.
Here’s what we got up to…
Afternoon soundcheck at the Tractor Tavern. “I’m sounding muddy,” Lou said from the stage. “I really wished I’d thought of this eight years ago when I recorded the songs. You know, sing higher.”
What do you mean “this picture requires some explanation?” It’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? On the left is Liz, a friend of Jason Loewenstein of Sebadoh. Liz and her husband Carlos graciously invited Lou (and I) over for dinner at their place in Ballard. Carlos is doing a book project on lo-fi cassettes, which Lou used to record all the time. The little dude in front is the product of what happens when a two-year old superhero makes his own chocolate milk out of edamame and a half-bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, then runs to the sofa, puts on “Thomas the Tank Engine” on the TV…and well, sorta passes out. We took the opp to commemorate the moment.
Hanging backstage, Lou was enormously pleased to return from dinner to find this merch poster that his bandmates had created for him. “Look at the fucking cat,” he said. “He looks terrified.” WOULDN’T YOU BE?
Live, Lou Barlow and the Missingmen are acoustic, then loud, then acoustic, then loud, then ukelele. Included in this package was “Natural One” by Folk Implosion, Sebadoh’s “The Freed Pig” “Soul and Fire” and “On Fire” plus all the newer solo stuff, including the legendary “Legendary”, a driving “Goodnight Unknown” and quite a bit more. Also on the bill: Lou singing about why you should buy his t-shirts to the tune of “Too Much Freedom”.
Lou got the wristband thingie in Texas. He liked it so he kept it on. The turquoise guitar was equally kinda wonderful. At this point I was tucking into Pint #47 I think. I believe several were Fat Tire and Mac & Jack’s African Amber. This is also around the point where local blogger Mike Johnston tweeted: “Lou is laying down some straight up badass right now.”
Guess which one’s Lou and which one’s me? I smile a lot when I am IN THE ROCK…
…apparently so does Lou and Raul (left). I would give my least-useful finger to remember what was said to bring forth this life-affirming laughter. But I am so ridiculously witty that it hardly matters. #joke
And finally, to end the night. The gift of rockhands. From Lou to the BackstageRider to you. Straight up and direct. Delivered by The King of Lo-fi. It came wrapped in some dubious brown wrapping paper. \m/
For more information on the one, the only, the most prolific lo-fi-indie-bass-rock-god, visit www.loobiecore.com
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