just got back from the oly house show and it was an amazing show... I sat upstairs for Yind as they were kinda sleepy and I could hear them just fine through the floor...then Paul Newman came on and played some good math rock type stuff...some of it alot better than others and I bought their first album which is pretty good...then Unwound came on...it was in the basment of a house with about 100 or so people crowded down there and they played the 2ed best show I have seen them do...the set list I think was pretty much the same as the other shows...and I really like the new song #1...and they ended the whole thing with a 5minute noise jam which was of course quite cool...and they play olympia again next week...yippie.
From Jacob Hauber
friday (5 February) unwound show at the Great American Music Hall in
they played, roughly in order:
lifetime achievement award (slowed down, and minus the lyrics)
petals like bricks
for your entertainment
what went wrong
side effects of being tired
and two new songs that didn't have lyrics (yet)
i think that was all of them, but i might have left something out, since they played for a good hour and twenty minutes. the band members were pretty subdued, despite a few annoying hecklers in the crowd. i'm not sure the capacity of GAMH, but the show was sold out and it was pretty crowded inside. opening bands: _the lies_ (i missed) _Yind_, kind of spacerock-ish instrumentals, not really my thing, but the songs were well crafted. apparently they're from olympia and have a 10" coming out on PMNV. _Paul Newman_, initially played quiet instrumental songs, then, in response to repeated heckling from a couple of guys, the last two songs were particularly loud with screamed vocals (in a VSS sort of vein.) they have an EP out, i'm not sure of the label...
Last summer Unwound toured in Europe !
I saw them three times
One time in Lausanne (Switserland) and two times in Holland.
The concert in Lausanne was very small (20 people)
I talked to Vern and Justin for a while
I talked a bit about the tour and they told me that there booker was a prety weird Italian guy so they played a lot of concerts in Italy.
Fact: Justin doesn't like Kronenbourg (That's a French Beer)
I don't think I've ever seen a "full unwound crowd". I've seen them about seven times now over the past three and a half years, and the crowd always seems to be mostly confused and bored. Along with that, I was doing some traveling in the northwest (that's a long ways from my home in Chapel Hill, NC) and was fortunate enough to catch the unwound shows in Olympia and the two in Seattle. I think the Olympia show was the best as far as performance (plus it was free!). Although that show was in a house, to me it did not seem ridiculously crowded (which was certainly a good thing). I realize they've probably played there hundreds of times (and were going to be playing the next week with Sleater Kinney), but it made me wonder if there is a contingent of younger people in that town who are sick of unwound or just don't know about them.
As far as the Seattle shows: the Crocodile Cafe should just stick to serving breakfast because that was much more enjoyable than watching some bouncer make unwound stop in the middle of "Valentine Card". The place wasn't that packed, possibly due to the all ages Mudhoney show (which I ardently avoided) and the Dead Moon/Tight Bros. show (I went just to see the Tight Bros, whom I would not really say are good, but I did enjoy it very much, I'm not a big Dead Moon fan and the place was packed with lots of glam-rock/Niki Sixx types, but I was happy to see Tad Doyle standing next to me! ). The unwound set was low key for the most part which was fine by me. The next day at the Velvet Elvis contained more of my personal favorite songs, and the overall atmoshpere was very relaxed, as in you could talk to the band after the show without being berated by bouncers (which was what happened the night before). Overall the crowds at each show seemed to enjoy it, yet considering they are a local band there were a lot of people who seemed to know nothing about them. One guy at the Crocodile show in fact seemed content in simply making fun of Vern's hair. I should also point out that at each of these shows, Vern was wearing the same thing, which I thought was great. He was wearing a t-shirt of the other unwound band.
That's right, there's some other band called unwound out there. I discussed this with him, we both agreed it's some sort of southern rock/biker band. He seems to think they're from Pittsburgh. I noticed some biker guy in Wal-Mart in Raleigh, NC wearing one of these shirts back around the time Future of What had just been released. But I digress...
I don't know if any of you have read Justin's tour diary in the latest issue of Error (Sam of Men's Recovery Project's collection of sardonic thoughts. It's one of my favorite zines). It appears to have been written in the fall of '95 when unwound was opening some dates for sonic youth. Justin mentions the "unwound stare" they usually receive from audiences. I guess it's something that's going to always follow them.
Anyways, after the Velvet Elvis show I asked Justin if they were going into the studio to record. He made it sound like that was still a few months off and that they were just going to take their time and put together more songs before jumping right into the studio. That reminded me of a post on this list I was just reading, which inquired as to whether or not the band members had jobs. Judging from Justin's very low key attitude I would guess that they do not have jobs. Either that or he has a low stress day job that he enjoys a lot. I would think that if he had a job he would have said something to the effect of, "yeah these past few weeks of touring were great, but now I have to fucking go back to work" (at least that's how most people view their jobs).
6 February 1999
Lots of problems. Justin broke his high E string on his lucite guitar early in the show and played most of the remainder of the show with only 5strings, thus lessening the dynamic range of alot of songs. He had another guitar (red epiphone), but only used it for about two songs (possibly an alternate tuning, i'm guessing). There was feedback on the drum mics (the only feedback should be coming from Justin's guitars, not from the Roxy's sound reinforcement setup!). There was only one heckler (why pay money to see a band if you just want to make fun of them?) Overall, not a good show for unwound, but still better than alot of other bands. I enjoyed the show still.
From Brian McDonald, also from the 6 Feb show
Did KROQ do ticket giveaways for this show? I ask, because three separate couples came up to me and asked "So when is this Unwound band going to play?"... It didn't hit me how weird this all was, until I saw a group of older drunk trashy loud and obnoxious yuppie types who were yelling... "So what are they called again? Oh, UnWOUND! Ooooh..." It seemed they were there because they wanted to experience some of that "NIGHTLIFE" at this hip joint called "THE ROXY" to see a Hollywood "ROCK BAND". Yeesh.
Yind were OK. They reminded me a lot of L.A.'s Polar Goldie Cats, which are/were this semi-interesting "arty" instrumental band, and who used to open for *every* single goddamned indie show in the L.A. area a couple of years ago. I can understand the Sea And Cake comparisons, but they also were more spacey and reminded me of Pell Mell. At best, they slightly interested me. At worst, they slightly bored me.
I like Paul Newman a little better. I loved the Pell Mell-y/New Order-y stuff they started their set with. This sounded like a band that seemed haunted by their loud tight mathy past and wanted to do more road travel pretty instrumental stuff. A few people in the crowd were screaming near the end of their set. I guess they wanted to hear the "harder" stuff, because Paul Newman relented and ended their set with a loud mathy screamy song which was a total 180 from the previous songs.
To my slight disappointment, Unwound were just OK too. Of the nine times I've seen them, this was probably the most lackluster of all. Not to say that they sucked, but they weren't exactly stellar that night. And yup the set was pretty much what Mr. Natural posted, except I think they skipped on "What Went Wrong". Anyway, I couldn't imagine a worst first Unwound show for someone to see than this one. Of course, the "Mix the kick drum 50 times louder, and take out all the treble" philosophy of the soundguy didn't help the show any.
Vern and even Sara seemed into it, but Justin couldn't have looked more "I just *really* don't give a fuck tonight" than that night. Then again, strips of Justin's now chin-length hair pasted his face whenever he sang, so it was hard to tell at times. And he didn't even sing half the set. Maybe they were inspired by their mostly vocal-less openers or something. "Lifetime Achievement Award" was relegated to instrumental status, and the new songs had no vocals yet. That's perfectly fine, but I happen to really like Justin's singing. Oh well. Maybe he's taking too much of a liking to that Red Man he was chewing and spitting throughout the set.
The new songs? They were neither heartfelt emo sonatas nor raw punk classics. They were more spacey. Definitely in the same directions as songs like "Sonata For Loudspeakers" and "What Went Wrong". Despite the not-too-exciting performance, I'm very excited about the next Unwound album assuming they'll continue in that direction.
I guess I really shouldn't complain about the vocal-less thing. The more bands that are inspired by Pell Mell and the more abstract instrumental rock coming out these days, the better.
"MK Ultra", the ender, was very nice. They extended it and made it more spacey as well. Nice touch. No encore. The house lights went on immediately, and those condenscending aspiring Gap ad model boys with "STAFF" t-shirts routed us all out.
Overall, I wished I had gone to the Che Cafe show in San Diego on Sunday night instead, and risked feeling hazy at work today. No more Hollywood shows for me in the near future, that's fr sure. The big "HOLLYWOOD" sign on the hills should really spell out "BEENTHEREDONETHAT". Bleech. I've had it. Somehow, the glut of neon, the teeming night life, and the smell of perfume and glamour, and certain circumstances combined to make me very extremely lonely.
Yikes. Where did that come from? Obligatory bitter aftertaste? Maybe I should lay off the St. Emo's Wort capsules.
Unwound @ the Liquid, from Alex
Unwound played Olympia again tonight at the Sleater-Kinney Record Release party so it wasn't a full unwound crowd...anyways they were good...but not nearly as good as they were last week...hummm I have no idea on the set list cause I am horrible with song titles...but vern flaked out on Sonata...sara and justin started and when vern was supposed to come in...he didn't...he stood up and just said they weren't gonna play it....it was strange...but whatever...they played a bunch of old stuff...but didn't get a very good reaction from some of the young sleater-kinney girls...but alas that is their loss...anyways sleater kinney put on a good show...well better than I had expected after listening to the album...but I think they are a band that reached their high point two albums ago...
In Seattle, from Chris
so yeah, unwound last night at the crocodile cafe in seattle, good show. i thought paul newman were incredible, though some of the people i was with disagreed. super melodic, 'toe tapping' (as chris V. put it) math rock stuff, with the occasional screamo stuff. i love it. the ep sounds great, the songs on it were definately the best songs they played last night.
unwound i really enjoyed as well. vern looked all lumberjack-ish with his plumber's ass falling out of his tight acid wash jeans, and justin didnt seem too bored, like he was the first time i saw them play a few years ago. i thought the two new instrumentals were really cool, and i dont know if it was on this list or the washer list where this was mentioned, but one of them sounded a hell of a lot like the beginning of the Slint song "Washer" on Spiderland. As soon as i heard the guitar lick, i recognized it as washer. but the lick was excellent, despite it's ripoff-ness! anyways, yeah, good show.
20 November, from Chris
Well, friday night at the breakroom. So smokey, you have to get glass cleaner to see when you exit that place. Vern had some 'lowercase' t-shirt on, sara had some thrift store T that said 'the kid' or something on it, justin was smoking?, which i thought was weird, because I didn't know he smoked. He was looking suave, in some yellow collered shirt. I really suck, because i left when they were done, and I didn't go up and grab the set list to tell you what they all played. About 10 songs they played, some really old school stuff. Some songs off of new plastic ideas, and stuff of of the last album.
I talked to Vern about t-shirts, he said he didn't bring any and left
them at home because he didn't want to sit there and sell them? FUCK! Oh
well. He gave me his address, so, if anyone wants to write him and buy unwound
shirts he said they were $6 bux, american.
p.o box 2283
olympia, wa 98507
i guess he only has x-large, and they are pretty big he said.
Regarding the whole matador thing, i guess they are only doing european distribution. He also stated that the new Unwound album will be out in January! So yeah, that should be nice. I mentioned that I had made a cd of the first demo tape, and offered him a copy. He just chuckled and said that he had the 'reels', and there was no need. Thought that was kind of humorous.
They rocked, in a mellow sort of way. I think sarah was really tired or something, who knows. They played with some opening bands, i showed up just in time, as unwound was walking on stage.
a perfect night, although, i've seen them better than that for sure. a lot of the songs were kind of slugish, or at least a touch slow.
Songs played were: (pretty sure on these, guessing)
02- laugh track
03- meet the plastics
08- lifetime achievement award
09- what went wrong (which was played over, cause vern fucked up)
03- equally stupid
that's all i can remember.
2 December they played dissapoint to.
Saturday, February, 13th
UNWOUND - PAUL NEWMAN - YIND
Crocodile Cafe - Seattle, WA
started kinda slow, I didn't think many people were going to show up but then the crowd continually built as the next hour passed. No sign of the unwound kids, so pretty much just waited for the bands to start. Paul Newman went on and mentioned that Unwound and Yind's van got a flat tire and that they would be late, and that's why they were opening up the show. PN started off the set with a pretty incredible fade in and out of noise that was very impressive. A four piece band, with two guitar players, and close to no vocals except one song where the rhythm guitar player has some pretty screamy vocals in it and one if not two other songs were the main guitar player sang some very soft to audible tones.
PN were quite exquisite, and even though I was feeling unmotivated it being Friday after a long week, they still seemed to get me tapping my feet. This band is incredible how it can play three songs that seem to build into a progressive crunch of sound. After a few songs, I wasn't sure if the were going to rock out at all, but they did. The way the played the set list was very entertaining and made it worth the 8 bucks that I had to scrape out for the show alone. PN played all three songs off of their new EP that they had for sale titled "twistworthy number seven", and it's a really great recording from what I've heard so far.
They played for almost 2 hours, and there was still no sign of Unwound. They stopped playing and waited awhile, and pretty much everyone just assumed that they weren't going to show. The drummer from PN and some random character got up on stage and did a bass and drums with looped out keyboard samples for almost 30 minutes to entertain the crowd. By this time people were eating and checking there watches as if they were about to leave, and then the tour van pulled up and people seemed to scurry out of the club to help the .wound with there equipment and started dragging stuff in. This was around 12:45 by the time they were even pulling there equipment towards the stage.
Yind obviously wasn't going to play, and unwound dragged there equipment onto the respectable stage of the crocodile. They quickly setup and started the set off with ABSTRAKTIONS. Great song to start off with, and they needed a mellow rocker to warm up with, and funny as it was I caught Justin telling Sarah to 'keep it snappy' as they went into "All Souls Day". From this point on they just started pounding out the sounds. By the third song, "Hexenszene", they were pummeling the crowd with superior concentration. I was thinking to myself that this was one of the best Unwound shows I had ever seen, and it just got better as the went into "corpse pose".
The crowd was really into the set by this point and screaming and shouting for more, and I was really happy to see that people stuck around so long because I myself was just about to leave before I saw there van pull up. UWD moved right into "Laugh Track", which was incredible. I was really happy to hear them playing some old songs, it was quite a refresher to not hear 'every' song off of challenged. They skipped 'next exit, devoid, and lifetime' just because they didn't have time for them and they played there new song called 'nu-song#2', at least that's what they are calling it for now.
They closed the show down with "For Yr Entertainment", and "Usual Dosage" until the damn bouncers at the club turned on the lights and forced everyone to go outside because the show had gone on so long. They were refusing the bands to sell any merchandise due to the fact that everyone had to leave. I instantly went to the merch table and bought a shirt, screw them.
From Robert Inpijn
Last night I went to the first unwound show of this European tour. We arrived early on purpose afraid that there weren't any tickets left, but only 8 were sold in advance! At 9 'o' clock Portobello Bones(French band) started. Although the first song was real cool the rest of the show kind of bored me. Then unwound opened with "petals like bricks" and my evening couldn't be ruined.
Then they played "broken E-strings"!Ultra-cool!
The rest of the set I have a hard time remembering and isn't that important. What IS important is that they played 3 new songs! (I don't know the titles)
After the show I talked to Vern and asked him if those were the songs for the 7"s coming out, I can't remember the direct answer but he said that the Matador single is already recorded and that they're going to re-mix it. I also asked him about their studio and he told me that they record on an analog 8-track and mix-down on a analog 2-track. I told him I thought unwound uses a lot more tracks than 8 and he said they used 24 on Repetition and Challenge but that they just try to be creative with the equipment they have.
I signed up for the Kill Rock Stars singles club so I wanted to know if unwound is going to do a 7" for that but Vern said there aren't any plans to.
I talked about more things but I guess they weren't important since I can't remember them.
All-in-all it was a cool gig although they made a lot of mistakes and Justin seemed a bit uninterested. But who cares, unwound has 4 more shows to play in the Netherlands in June! I also bought the Matador compilation "Unwound Further listening" .It contains previously released songs from Unwound s/t up to Repetition.
Greetings from the Netherlands
From Ethan Abbe
i saw them last on new years eve in new york at the cooler. it was new years eve and justin was really drunk. he only had the clear guitar so almost all the songs were in the wrong tuneing and he did not have the mighty feedback button with him so all the loud parts of the songs were missing and there wasnt any feedback. the songs just werent the same out of tune and not screeching with loud feedback. but at least i was able to still enjoy the show.
the time before that was the most amazing show ive ever been to EVER!!!!!! it was for the last album challenge for a civilized society but they only played 3 songs from that album...the good ones! all the rest were their all time BEST SONGS!!!! i was so close i could reach out touch both of em at the same time. it was a huge stage but they set up waaaaay close to each other and right in front of me!!! it was what it would be like to time travel back to the early days of tiny lil unwound shows where no one knew the band in some lil nothing club BUT EVERYBODY knew and loved them and the set list was amazing! it was very intimate.
the time before that i dont wanna talk about.... it was also at the cooler..... in the middle of the summer. it was for the cmj fest and it was PACKED! it was just filled with people who have never even heard of unwound or even sleater kinney (who was also playing) let alone coldcold hearts or any other bands from that night. they were all just college kids who had passes for all the cmj shows and had nothing to do that night but come see some "cool alternative bands" and piss me and every other unwound fan off! anyway anyone whos ever been to cooler already knows that it has no ventelation. (its underground. it used to really be a meat packing cooler.) and it gets HOT!!!!
(background info) - i had just seen the melvins the night before (really awesome show) and then went back to long island because my friend called up and needed my help (i was going to spend the night in manhatten because the unwound show was the next night. makes sense right?) so i go back home in the wee hours of the morning (note i havent slept) i get home and the sun is bright and painful by now. my friend wanted me to help him move his stuff out of school in massachusets because it was the last day to do so. so we get in the car and begin the trek from long island new york to harvard in massachusets and back again and hopefully in time for the unwound show. so all day i was either in the hot car or lifting reeeeally heavy objects accross campus under the hot sun. it sucked. alot. by the time we got home im late. i wait for the long island railroad for pen station for 40 min. the train is late what a surprise. by the time i get out and make my way to the cursed club im certain ive missed them. but as it turned out i only missed coldcold hearts who ive seen a couple of times before anyway.
what REALLY surprised me was the HUUUUGE FUCKING LINE AROUND THE WHOLE BLOCK to get into the show which has already started!!!!!!! 2 bands already played by now and there is a line around the block! i couldnt believe it. and walking past them i heard em talking "WHOs playing tonight?? UNWOUND?!!? who are THEY?!?" lotsa stuff like that just really pissing me off! the reason there was a line around the block was because the club had exceeded its maximum occupancy limit and they were keeping track of whenever someone would leave through the exit. if 2 people left they would let 2 more people enter and so on. it was crazy!
luckily i had originally came for the unwound show on the wrong night earlier that week and when i realized i was at the wrong show they gave me my money back and i told em id be back for the show and the guy at the door remembered me and just let me right in.
it was like entering hell.
sleater kinney was already getting ready on the stage. i couldnt see ANYTHING. EVERYONE WAS SOAKING WET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DRENCHED!!!!!!!! i cant describe just how hot it was. its safe to say that at this time im not feeling very well. i had not slept at all. and i ate nothing that day. more people were constantly pooring in also. i was constantly being pushed forward -something im used to at shows but under these conditions it was torture. i was by now soaking wet as well. PLUS i couldnt even see the band. sleater kinney finished and i was still among the living. but not for long. i didnt know the next band. by now it was begining to dawn on me that i prolly wouldnt make it through the night. here is when i lose track of time. i dont know how many songs that band played before i started seeing things..... i dont know if it was the extreme heat the sleep deprevation the fact that i didnt eat anything or the unfiltered lucky strike i had during sleater kinney... but all the sudden i got REALLY dizzy. ive never experienced a dizzy spell like this i really started seeing things. the band on stage looked like it was a really bad recording on a shitty TV set with the contrast turned way up and the color maxed out and the V-hold was skipping and the tracking was all fucked up. i could hardly walk at all. i FELT so fucked up! the bastards at the bar were charging for fucking water!! could you believe that in that heat?!? well i must have looked pretty fucked up cause when i couldnt just get a water i asked for a cup full of ice and it was given to me with out a second thought. i used the cup of ice to successfully bring the temperature inside my head way down. and i also used the cup to drink the sinkwater in the bathroom. by the time unwound got on stage i had enough. i watched them at the bar on the tiny tv set while i heard them play. i did not enjoy it. that was a very unsuccessful unwound show for me.
but the time i saw unwound before that was amazing! they played with blonde redhead that time!
so ive seen em 4 times - 3 times successfully.
one was the best show ive ever been to EVER!
one was quite possibly the worst.
one could have been better...
and one was just plain awesome.
so you see it could have been much much much worse.
From Renier Bormans
It all happened in a small student club in a cellar with a very nice atmosphere, punk-style place. First appeared LUMEN - czech group . They sounded like between Neurosis, Helmet, Today Is The Day, Sonic Youth (Evol-time). It was like a journey into an abyss. They were very, very GOOD.
When Lumen finished, Unwound came on the stage and started their show. I saw them 3 times and I have to say I was surprised with Justin being so much "extrovert", hitting ceiling with his guitar, turning his head down under the microphone, etc. They played 3 songs I have never heard: Mkultra (oh............!!! very gooooooood one) and two others which were listed as 1 and 2 (both with vocals I guess, at least one of them). Vern of course wearing old, torn jeans and sneakers, putting all his energy in what he was doing, seemed to enjoy their performance very much. Finished with "For Yr Entertainment" but the audience did not let them go, so they played (just like in Berlin last year) the "trilogy" out of Fake Train. After show I talked to them. Very nice people. Vern said they do not have exact plans but probably their next album will be out in april next year.
That's all from Prague. I hope I will see them in Poland at last some day.
From: Giordano Biafora
i saw unwound again last saturday (may 22th) in rome, the venue was the very famous Forte Prenestino squat. i think from 800 to 1300 people showed up, even though i guess not everybody was there for unwound (there was a reggae soundsystem some rooms away and on sat night the squat is just a place where people go to drink beer and smoke pot without being hassled by police). i was a bit worried cause the gig was open-air, and i always thought of unwound as the perfect band for small close venues. but it didn't affect the show all that much, after all. it was a bit cold though.
the show was absolutely amazing, much better than last year (may.. mmm... 9th maybe?), when they played at the Brancaleone squat. the thing that made this show better than the last one is that this time you could actually hear vocals. last year there were NO vocals (and the band hadn't realized it), so it was like one very long instrumental set. not that it was all that bad, but, you know...
i took a dozen or so of photos. i hope they'll turn out to be nice. also a couple of backstage shots, but i'm not sure.
the concert was so intense. definitely one of the best things i've seen so far. they playied a whole lot! almost two hours. the show was opened by the band "shag bath", but really, it was just sara on drums, vern on guitar, and one of their swedish roadies on bass and vocals. and then there was antoher swedish roadie kneed on stage, holding up a poster which said something in swedish and then, well, shag bath. they playied one song, we didn't quite get it (it was swedish), but they surely were having a lot of fun. then justin came up, he swapped instruments with vern, and went into the first song (which i forgot). i don't have the full setlist (damn, i should've ripped one from the floor), but yeah, among the tunes i remembere there were corpse pose, laugh track, valentine card, kantina, new energy, dragnalus, all souls day, entertainment (interesting to hear it not as closing song but right mid-show), and also, but i can't swear on this, petals like bricks. i think they played a lot from new plastic ideas, their only record i didn't have (until later that night of course), so that's why i couldn't catch more titles. the whole set was very loud and raw. they got more, uh, mellow for the encore, playing two songs from new plastic ideas and one from, well, repetition, or the future of what, i don't remember right now. the visual effect was excellent too, vern jumped up and down all the time, sara was just perfect, i mean real perfect, and justin looked like he was totally into what he was singing. crowd ovations were real loud when they ended the encore, and i reached them backstage soon after.
quite surprisingly, they remembered me from last year. two friends and me interviewed them after the show, since we work for a local radio. maybe someone taped the show too. they had been interviewed by another radio before the show, but i don't know how it's gone... i tink they didn't even tape the intervew.
another thing you may want to know is that their dates in florence and catania got cancelled. they'll play in naples on the 25th, bologna on the 26th and biella on the 27th, before heading for france (biella is a small town between milan and turin). they're actually enjoying two days off here in rome. i bet their friend here took them to the seaside because it's very sunny today.
ooooh almost forgot. i might have little piece of review from their show in milan. i talked with a girl friend of mine living there, she said the show was great, but she didn't like vern's attitude: "he kept taking big shots of whiskey between every song while trying to look so cool.. sort of like, 'beautiful and damned' style, you know?". i told this to the guys and they all had a good laugh, then admtitted that in milan they really went heavy on alcohol, and vern was so drunk he couldn't even do the soundcheck. the highlight of that show, in their opinion, was when, right in the middle of a song, vern couldn't stand on his legs, so he walked backstage, plopped on a couch and kept playing from that more comfortable location.
they also met fugazi in amsterdam. both bands were taking coincidence and they almost stumbled into each other while waling fast in two cues going in opposite directions. the world is a small place, after all.
when justin told me about vern drunk in milan, i said, "oh, so he's the matt lukin of unwound". justin seemed to like this one.
From: Giordano Biafora
since i am a good unwound fan and i had a few savings, i decided to go and see the guys in bologna too, on may 26th.
before that, you may want to know a bit about what had happened after their show in rome (22th). they went to the beach on sunday and got a bit tanned, then on monday sara and, uh, vern (or maybe justin? i don't know) went to the vatican's museums. their gig in torre del greco, napoli (may 25th) went something like this: about thirty people showed up, including some other guys from rome (the fact that the ones that have seen'em in rome went to see them again facing big expeses should give you an idea of how good that show has been). the band was given two beers each! i think they played for an hour.
set list, just as vern wrote it (cut titles etc):
here come the dogs
broken e strings
the venue in bologna is called "il covo", i had never been there before (even though tons of great bands play there) and i must say it's a very nice place. perfect for a band like unwound: medium sized show room with good acustics and everything else. i think the crowds wasn't over 300.
there was a local opening act, but i didn't like them too much. they were an instrumental five piece. i mean, they did good music, but i think it was me, i wasn't in the right mood for that.
unwound hanged around a lot in their room, had a good dinner and lots of beer and bourbon and other drinks. the bad side of the night in fact was that the beer kept on ending a bit too fast. to see a fridge with only one beer can in it is a very, very sad sight, as we soon discovered. among the other friends of their hanging out in the band room there was a photographer from milan, he was showing us all two rolls of pics he's taken at unwound in milan. many were really cool. they were not only on-stage shots but also a whole lot from, like, the band taking a coffee at the bar, or throwing stuff at each other in the van. only later i discovered (well, realized is the right word) that he was stefano giovannini. you may know him. for e example, the pic of kim gordon on the "experimental jet set" cover is by him. he works a lot with sonic youth, but also with many other bands (motorpsycho, bjork, and the list could go on forever). it was cool to meet him, he's such a nice guy.
about the concert: it was kinda short, exactly one hour. they played like ten songs. this time i had taken vern's setlist but i lost it the next day at the station while i was running to take the train. they did a really good version of "envelope", and a lot of songs from "challenge", and these were the most acclaimed ones by the crowd, which in fact seemed to be more in the latest unwound stuff. they closed with "side effects", but again, they made it really short, instead of, you know, going on forever with the instrumental part. i also think they did two new songs. on the setlist they were just called "1" and "2", and i didn't recognise them. they sounded very good by the way. then the band jumped off stage, no encore. probably their mood wasn't high enough to repeat the great show of rome, but the "few" things they played, they played with enthusiasm and energy. many other bands dream to be able to play such a show. for them, it was just a regular gig. the after-party went on till 3am (the lack of beer became unacceptable by then). then we all left and headed for the hotel. i said them goodbye and then i went to a friend of mine where i slept. i know they had the morning free to see bologna a bit (it's a very nice medieval-looking city) and then had to leave for biella after lunch time.
i took a few pics of this show too, plus stefano took a couple of shots of vern and me. i'm sure i'll turn out to look horrific in those pics as usual, but oh well, maybe stefano did the miracle, even though they were taken with my shitty japanese pocket camera and not with his extra cool machine.
to sum it all, yes, it was well worth going up there, and if only i had more money, i would have seen more. now i just hope they'll come back soon.
From: John Patrick
Last night I went to Amsterdam (that's the Capital of the little country Holland/aka The Netherlands, children). Unwound played in a squatted building, together w/ Larve and The Most Secret Method. Incredible atmosphere (totally punk building etc.) and Unwound really kicked some major ass!
They played 5 (count them, F I V E) new songs, somewhat familiar sounds, yet different and fresh again. I don't know, kinda hard to explain sounds, right? One song was to my ears further composed around some chords off of The light at the end.... Unwound played for around 1 hour and 45 minutes. (Their longest gig with me in the audience) and they seemed pretty much ammused, esp. Vern and Justin.
In reply to some long ago threads....
Verns hair was painted darkish brown, he wore a T of Jawbreaker (the Justin and Sara outfits seem pretty simular every show). Justin played his transparant plastic guitar. Sara played one song with some sort of cracked bamboosticks or something like that. Justin bottomed up a lot of Jim Beam, but only fucked up one tiny chord.
From: Michelle Frazer
yeast, from surrey, was the first opener, and they opened for unwound when i saw them in brighton last weekend. poor yeast. they want to be a hardcore band, it's obvious from the fliers and the haircuts and the chugchug guitar riffs. and they try, they really do. but the thing is, they lack edge. in both implications of the word. the lyrics are pretty nondescript though they do have one song dedicated to cider. what they need is a cause, and no other cause has better served thousands of hardcore kids than straight edge. at least then they'd have something to write about, and in this country they'd be doing something fairly uncommon. but they also lack edge in that they're just not a very tight band -- the sound is pretty thin with only one guitar and the drummer needs to be ditched asap -- the kid cant' keep time. the guitarist/singer also *sings* as opposed to screams, yells, grunts, roars a la timmy mouthpiece. really, if you want to be a hardcore band and you want to sing simultaneously, your drummer should at least be able to go fast and then you can sort of pretend you're avail. as it is, yeast sound like they're on the road towards getting recorded by j. robbins and putting out a record on crank! or deep elm, and they dont' even know it. of course, they'd have to get better first to do that.
that yeast description holds true for both shows, they didn't change much in a week.
so...i saw unwound twice last weekend. pretty awesome. on saturday i went to brighton to see them and there was a beach and it was neat. not at the show, but in brighton. the show was absolutely diy, in a town hall-esque building, and made me happy. besides yeast a not very good band called elephant opened and sometimes they were shoegazer and sometimes not. very glam for what that's worth but crazy crushed velvet bell bottoms and platform shoes doesn't necessarily make the music good.
unwound were very very good. everyone was sitting down at first and i despaired because i needed to stand up but i hate blocking ppl's views (not that it happens very often). but then justin said into the microphone that they weren't going to play until people stood up. rock. so they did, and then they started playing petals like bricks. i have the set list, but they switched some stuff around so it's not 100% accurate. from memory then:
petals like bricks
broken e strings
for your entertainment
i was so happy they played honourosis and this time he didnt' fuck up the plink plink guitar part. i can't begin to convey how happy i was, how good they were, how good it felt to rock out to music that almost begins to approach eliot's 'music felt so deeply that you are the music while the music lasts'.
i talked to justin after the brighton performance, and ascertained that they had *not* recorded a peel session this time around, that they were supposed to but it 'fell through'. he also promised to play equally stupid the next night in london and he was thoroughly nice (go figure). for the vern watchers in the audience, i'd like to share with you all that his hair is looking rather lanky and mousey coloured and that he wore a lowercase t-shirt both nights (same shirt).
sunday night upstairs at the garage wasn't as good a show. almost, but not quite. that probably had to do with the mustached guy next to me who kept playing air guitar. guess what: if you go to a show, stand in the front row and play air guitar, you are not only a loser, but you suck and are greatly detracting from the enjoyment of those ppl standing around you. and mustaches are just a *mistake* unless you are forty. sunday also featured an absurd number of photographers. set list:
petals like bricks
broken e strings
very similar, replace honourosis (my fav unwound song) with equally stupid and evelope (other less fav but still up there unwound songs). i assume that the 1 2 3 which i didn't recognize are the bonus tracks on the european release of challenge? during usual dosage, justin and vern lost it. completely. i've come to expect the end of an unwound set to consist of justin standing next to his amp making feedback while sarah and vern leave the stage...what happened was they went nuts. complete rock star, smashing shit, banging instruments against pillars, jumping all around swinging guitar/bass (i was very afraid i was going to get smashed in the face by vern). fucking nuts. and sort of stupid too, i think. i wonder if they did it for the benefit of the air guitar fan standing next to me. after about six or seven minutes of that shit, they stopped and then it stopped and then it was over and i went home.
From Robert Inpijn:
Review: 25th of June 1999 - De Vlerk, Rotterdam
Went to Unwound last night and I have to say they were much better then at the beginning of this tour. Although Justin made a major fuck-up in "meet the plastics" (he actually apalogized) the rest went fine. My only problem is that when I saw them in the same place last year the crowd almost went mad & it was pretty crowded. Sure there were real Unwound fans who clapped their hands 'till they bled(like I did), but I get the impression that less people are visiting unwound concerts over here in the Netherlands then last year.hmmm.....
Most Secret Method opened up and they were really cool and energetic, everybody who hasn't heard them should start doing it right now.... You also could get free Unwound posters made to promote Challenge..... Vern was wearing a real small 'most secret method'-shirt which wasn't covering his belly so he wrote "slut" onto it.
As far as the setlist is concerned all i can remember is this:
(not in the right order)
abstraktions(opened up with)
meet the plastics
side effects of being tired(encore)
for your entertainment
From: john patrick
I got to see Unwound and the most secret method twice last week. This time around I bring you a little update on the gig they played at De Vlerk in Rotterdam. It was really cool! Unwound started off with Sarah and Justin playing drums together, one tall guy with curly hair and a silly old man's hat tweaking guitar pedals and a childish looking guy mumbling spoken words into a microphone. They started with closed curtains, so most of the audience didn't notice it was Unwound playing already. It sounded quite okay, especially when Vern got on stage after 5 minutes or so. He was wearing this tiny Most secret.... t-shirt, meant for little girls, so it ended ± 15 centimeters above his bellybutton, and he had the word "SLUT" written on his belly with marker. When Vern got plugged in, there was some structure getting in the whole improv thing, and when Justin took over the guitar it gradually evolved into abstraktions, totally cool! It was a really moody set (devoid, for yr entertainment, valentine Card, Kantina, meet the plastics) it just really made a big impression.
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This document was last updated on 29 June 1999