MIKE WATT – CAUSTIC RESIN – ? Live at Lil’ Brother’s (Columbus, OH)
Somehow I’ve missed Mike Watt for every time he=s played locally over the past 10 years no matter how much my friends have pleaded with me to go. This time I made sure I would be there, especially since Nick said I had to regardless of any excuses. We got to Lil’ Brothers early and found out it is where Stache’s moved to.
The first band (whose name I forget) came on and was, lame. Nick had an interesting theory about them. He thinks they were five guitarists who got kicked out of other bands. Then they drew straws to pick who=d play bass and drums. The other three played guitar and not very well. The drummer and bass player both looked uncomfortable with their instruments. Overall we wished we had shown up late, or got caught in traffic.
Caustic Resin came on next and were way better than the first band…but that’s not hard to do. They were heavy and droning. We thought at first they were doing a shotty imitation of Silverchair doing a shotty imitation of Nirvana. Then they started a pattern of playing slow two chord songs, followed by fast two chord songs. This just wasn’t the best opening for Mike Watt. Mite reviewed their CD in #9 and the band he reviewed seems nothing like the band I saw. Either one of us is way out of wack or the band has changed since their last release.
Soon everybody gathered close to the stage to get ready for Mike Watt and the Black Gang. They had an interesting setup where all three of them were positioned close to the edge of the stage. They took the stage and broke into “The Punk Rock Opera” and played it the whole way through. I have listened to Mike in various bands for about 13 years and have always been in awe of his bass playing, seeing him live is mind-blowing. He attacks his bass like no other and gets the most amazing sounds out of it. He totally controls every aspect of his sound and can go from soft gentle strums to gut-busting thumps within a second. The guitarist was also amazing and made good use of several “toys”. At one point he used a plastic raygun to strum his guitar and when he’d fire it there were some great sounds coming through his pickups. He also used a spring and a wire whip at times. The drummer kept up with all of it, but since I don’t know much about drums that’s about all I can say.
Once the Punk Rock Opera was over they ended up coming out for two encores of four songs each. They played some older Mike Watt songs and a few covers from what Nick said, but I didn’t recognize them. After the show Mike stood on stage and sold CD’s and T-shirts which I don=t know of any other band on a major label does. I spoke to him briefly and he is as nice as everybody else says he is and very true to himself and music. Also when I handed him a copy of the zine and said I publish it he said “Much Respect”, that just made my week. Even if that is a standard phrase of his when he receives something it really made me feel great to have Mike say that to me. When all’s said and done I’m happy to know there are people like Mike out there. If you want some great music and buy any and all of the releases from any of Mike’s bands: Mike Watt, fIREHOSE and the Minutemen.