Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Live review: Meat Puppets

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Meat Puppets w/ Dexateens and Babyshaker

Visulite Theatre

Dec. 1, 2009


The Deal: Latest lineup of the Kirkwood brothers rips through hour-and-a-half set in front of small Charlotte crowd.


The Good: The show kicked off with a brief set by Charlotte's own Babyshaker. Scott Weaver, who sings in more of a pop-rock style with Snagglepuss, lets it all go with this group and gets to show of his more intense rock side. The band's high-intensity rock got plenty of emotion stirred up in Weaver who made his way around the stage, dropped to his knees and left it all on the stage.


Alabama's Dexateens were up next and offered a pleasant surprise to the night. The band's brand of Southern rock also blended in some punk elements. There was a good groove to most of the songs, though they'd also have a raw edge — like their site says, "Out of the garage and onto the porch." Three guitarists offered up some memorable riffs as dual singer/guitarists — Elliott McPherson and John Smith — shared vocal duties. It was definitely a band I'd like to hear more from. Infectious energy emitted into the crowd and was the perfect warmup for the headliner.


Meat Puppets hit the stage shortly after 10 p.m. on their way to an hour-and-a-half set that began with "Plateau," a song that may be familiar to some from the cover Nirvana did on its Unplugged album. There were a few of those during the night as The Meat Puppets influence has gone far over the years. Guitarist/singer Curt Kirkwood offered up extended solos on a number of tunes, sometimes using a slide and generally ripping through notes with ease and fury.


Bassist Cris Kirkwood may look older than his 49 years — being shot and going to jail can have that effect — but his performance and vocals were spot on. The brothers played like they haven't spent a minute apart and never lost a step during the night.


Playing a handfull of tunes of their latest album, Sewn Together, the Puppets showed off their punk, grunge and even country sides through tunes including, "The Monkey and the Snake" and "Sapphire." Of course, their hit "Backwater" was thrown in toward the end of their set, along with "Lake of Fire." Other songs performed included "Oh Me," "Sam," "Light," "I'm a Mindless Idiot" and "Up on the Sun." The band returned for a two-song encore of "Confusion Fog" and "Attacked by Monsters."

The Bad: There may have been 200 people there — far less than expected for a band with such a long history and such influence.

The Verdict: One of those shows that exceeded expectations from the openers and the headliner — and one that you wished more people would have seen.

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