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Shellac at The Bottom Lounge 06/27/09

I'm on Pony Express Time. This show was on June 27. And no, I've never heard of "margins" or "text wrap." That's crazy talk, I tell ya.

Shellac played two shows that weekend: A 21+ show on Saturday evening and an all-ages show at 11 AM on Sunday. I know this is a terrible thing to say and I'm forgetting my roots and blah blah blah, but I hate all-ages shows. So, I was quite thankful to catch the show on Saturday night.

The Bottom Lounge is a curious place. Located directly below CTA tracks, the joint was separted into two sections: Bar/Restaurant and concert space. Every five minutes or so, a train roared by. I kept thinking about the movie "Seven." I resisted the urge to yell "WHAT'S IN THE BOX!!" to my friend.

I'm sure he would he made the connection, but everyone else would have thought I was crazy.

Anyhow, they had a huge beer selection, there was a lot of space to move around, and I'm sure the jukebox selection was awesome. The chicken sandwich sucked.

On a side note, small show flyers advertised that they had VIP tickets for every show and sure enough nestled in back left side of the performance was an elevated box. If this was a Local H show, I'd take no notice. However, seeing people standing in a VIP box for Shellac was mildly amusing in an insular indie rock sort of way. I can't wait for the Fugazi reunion show that will never happen.

Sound: Excellent, with an even mix of all the instruments.

Three Second Kiss and Bear Claw opened. TSK was great while Bear Claw simply sufficed.

With the place packed and the heat and humidity on the rise, Shellac hit the stage. After some tweaking and tuning, Todd Trainer held a drumstick in the air like a torch for a few moments and they were off. Lurching right into "Ghosts," it looked remarkably similar to the following footage.

They followed it up with the blistering "Copper." Five years ago, when Shellac played Collinsville, IL the wags at the VFW Hall more or less cut Shellac off during "Copper," so it was nice to hear it on the front end of the set.

After those two, the order was a blur. Here are the songs I know they played. There was some new stuff tossed in there as well. And I may be missing a song from Excellent Italian Greyhound. This is not even close to being in the correct order.

My Black Ass
This was a very pleasant surprise. Was not expecting anything off Action Park.


I love this song. One of Shellac's best. The visuals were of performance started off a lot like this.


While this probably isn't largely the case with an 21+ crowd, I still wonder how many people at their shows recognize the source of the introduction that Albini and Weston do every time they play this song. Be it Geneva, Chicago or Toronto, this is how it goes. Makes me smile everytime. Hoser.

Prayer to God

I read online a blog where a guy took offense with the end of the song when Albini altered the lyrics, telling the baby Jesus to get off his lazy ass and doing something for once. In polite company, he would have a beef. However, polite company this is not. This is a Shellac show. This is a band Steve Albini is in. Go look up the band name of his post-Big Black project. Understand that this is a song about someone wishing for God to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new fella. I do not understand how someone would get huffy over what Albini sang, but raise no objections to the song as it's pressed to vinyl.

Squirrel Song


Watch Song

End of Radio

When I was went to the University of Kansas, I DJ'd at the student run station. June of 44's "Sharks and Sailors" was my designated "bathroom break/grab some food from Burrito King" song. Since I doubt they will ever play Didn't We Deserve A Look At You The Way You Really Are ever again, this has taken over as Shellac's pit stop song. I like this song, but knowing that you got ten minutes going for you is nice.

Steady As She Goes

Grand Finale

As the boys played out an extended version of INSERT NAME OF SONG THAT I DID NOT WRITE DOWN BUT SHOULD HAVE, drummer Todd Trainer commenced tearing down his drum kit. He was quickly joined by Weston and Albini in a "improvised" percussion finale. Went a lot like this footage from the Primavera Festival.


It would not be a Shellac show without a couple of timeouts for Bob to take questions from the audience. Highlights included: Bob admitting that he pees in the shower and Albini tossing out a Michael Jackson joke. Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and Michael Jackson jokes? A: The jokes are getting old. These sessions would have gone by without significance until someone asked why Albini had a red bandana in his back pocket. The question opened the door for Albini to unleash some of his unlimited crassness. In the simplest terms, Albini explained that his red hanky indicated that he liked to engage in an activity that the Christian Missionaries would frown upon. See Track 6 on Rich Man's Eight Track Tape and it will be perfectly clear. In the meantime, examine this photo of said bandana for clues.

Photograph taken by Ian Merritt from http://gapersblock.com/transmission/artist/ See more of his work at: http://www.idmphotography.com/


After watching him selling merch after the show, I am convinced that Bob Weston is without a doubt one of the nicest guys on the planet. Maybe some of the kids who bought shirts or posters didn't think it was a big deal that he took the time to shake the hand of every person who bought something. It wasn't contrived or fake. It was an exercise of genuine appreciation. You do not get that from the vast majority of bands, let alone one of the most important bands on the planet. Great freaking guy.




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