Sebadoh @ Broadcast, Glasgow, 4 Oct
Sebadoh go back to basics with a well-balanced set taking in songs old and new from their extensive back catalogue
Dearly Beloved don't mind kicking things off to just a handful of people, bringing a particularly frenetic energy to the charmingly stale Broadcast basement. There are strobe lights aplenty as Niva Chow and Rob Higgins get up close and personal with the front couple of rows (and each other), delivering charged art-punk odes backed up with a commitment to blistering arrangements, every instrument battered close to death.
It's difficult to arrive on the low Broadcast stage with any ceremony, but Sebadoh manage to do it so subtly that even the sound engineer doesn't realise, leading to an awkward few moments as Jason Loewenstein attempts to signal to the back of the room.
The performance is fairly workmanlike for the most part; just the three-piece operating smoothly through a main set consisting mostly of new album Act Surprised, with a reasonable smattering of other hits. They're a band who seem a good fit for a dank basement show, so the cramped surroundings fit well – though why the venue wasn't upgraded given the demand is bizarre.
Beauty of the Ride, Not a Friend and Soul and Fire are early highlights, but the run of new material that makes up the mid-portion fits nicely with their classic songs, providing a seamless link that other bands who take a 13 year sabbatical (from recording at least) can only dream of. It helps to place the new album into the context of the band's complete musical lineage and shows it just as worthy of its place in their canon (moreso than 2013's tentative Defend Yourself).
There's an easy rapport with the audience, and the heckler who appears to be following the band around. Loewenstein relates a story of being amazed that a Sebadoh song used to regularly appear on the jukebox next door at Nice N Sleazy, while Lou Barlow periodically checks in on drummer Bob D'Amico squirreled away in the depths of the stage.
The encore deals exclusively in classics, with Magnet's Coil still sounding fresh 25 years on, after some cagey, broken guitar issues. “Now you're quiet”, Barlow berates the crowd, as they wait for him to find and tune a new guitar. Rebound and Skull are just as strong before the oldest song of the night finishes things off, Brand New Love. It's more back to basics than reinventing the wheel, but if you know what you're good at – keep doing it.