The Meat Puppets are Back! (Live at LAís Echoplex)
By
Michael Cano
2/24/2008 12:03:35 AM

Yesterday, my homeboy Dan called me in the morning and told me he had an extra ticket to the Meat Puppets show at the Echoplex, and did I want to go? I said, not just yes, but Hell Yes!

A long-time Meat Puppets fan, Iíve have been seeing them play live since 1983. I have seen the best, and not-so-best of the Pups. I was there when the lineup changed, due to brother Cris Kirkwood's problems. It was good, but it just wasn't the Puppets. I lamented the passing of a truly great band and was appropriately saddened.

Last year, I heard that brother Cris Kirkwood had fought hard, conquered his demons, and was re-joining the band. I celebrated the return of a truly great band and was appropriately overjoyed. The Meat Puppets were to play at the Troubadour and of course, I was going to see them and I was not alone. The place was packed and the anticipation was great.

When the Pups hit the stage that night last year at the Troubadour, they made it abundantly clear that they were indeed BACK! The gig was flawless, brother Cris Kirkwood was perfect, he did not drop a single bass note, his antics were kept to a minimum, and the songs were letter-perfect. The Brothers Kirkwood looked so incredibly pleased to be playing with each other again, and that energy filled the room and washed over the crowd. Mike Watt had a huge smile on his face the whole gig and Henry Rollins looked as pleased as Henry Rollins can. I walked out of that gig with my punk rock heart and soul filed to the brim with goodness and warmth.

So, last night, I walked in, expecting somewhat the same thing, a flawless Meat Puppets gig, the songs played letter perfectly, and those insane stage antics and song shifts of those 80's gigs a thing of the past. Happily, I could not have been more wrong.

It seems that the last 7 or so months of the Puppets playing together again has brought out their finest musical instincts and what I was lucky enough to witness last night at the Echoplex was pure musical transcendence. Yes, the songs were played perfectly, but this was a different kind of perfect. They were not played with strict adherence to the original versions the way they were last year at the Troubadour, but rather, with a truly astounding abandon and invention that was positively remarkable to see and hear. Kurt Kirkwood proved, beyond a doubt, once again, that he is truly, truly one of the world's finest of all guitarists. The man can do whatever the hell he wants to do on that thing whenever he wants and his playing last night was beyond amazing. The songs were stretched out into punk rock musical masterpieces and one never knew what was going to happen next.

IT WAS FUCKING BRILLIANT! Welcome back, Meat Puppets. I missed you. I couldn't be happier to have you back.

 

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