You’ve Got to Watch the Dream Syndicate Live at KEXP
The Dream Syndicate reputedly ripped the roof off at Rough Trade when they played there last fall. Of all the good shows that this blog missed out on covering last year, that two-night stand is at the top of the list. But we have Now I’ve Heard Everything to thank for posting the whole half-hour set that the regrouped and reinvigorated version of Steve Wynn’s iconic, mega-influential paisley underground/noiserock band played at KEXP last year.
They do Tell Me When It’s Over pretty straight up, almost tentatively, as an opener, until Jason Victor suddenly lets off a toxic squall and right there, that loosens everybody up. And both drummer Dennis Duck and bassist Mark Walton have the groove down cold, if anything they’re better now than when the original incarnation of the band (with guitarist Karl Precoda) was together.
Likewise, That’s What You Always Say starts out a little janglier, chimier than the original but then Victor hits that murderous minor chord midway through the first verse. You only wish the duel between the two guitarists – skronky Wynn and murky, murderous Victor – would go on longer. But then they launch into a vigorous, bouncy John Coltrane Stereo Blues – Walton and Duck swing it so hard it’s almost funk. This is a real livewire version, way better than the much heavier original studio recording, with plenty of boiling-acid guitar sparring – and then they segue into the Doors’ Break on Through for a couple of verses! What they’re going to end with isn’t clear – the band changes up the rhythm and keeps you guessing – but then it turns out to be a stampeding version of The Days of Wine & Roses. Victor’s jet-engine-in-flames stuff at the end is especially evil.
Let’s hope that Wynn keeps the Dream Syndicate warm in the bullpen along with the other thing he does on the side, the jangly and historically rich Baseball Project. In the meantime, Wynn is at Bowery Ballroom at 10ish on April 11 with his regular band the Miracle 3. And Victor’s similarly incendiary noiserock band the Skull Practitioners have been playing around town a fair amount lately – their Halloween show at Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick was off the hook.
Now I’ve Heard Everything also has some good stills of Karla Moheno wielding her Telecaster during her haunting set at the Rockwood last November – a show that this blog didn’t miss.