Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bastards of Young

With the news that Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson got together and recorded an EP to raise money for their fellow ex-Replacement Slim Dunlop's medical bills, old, vintage 'Mats videos were posted like, well, like a Replacements semi-reunion was in the offing.

The problem is that unlike their friends and peers R.E.M., there's very little professionally-shot live footage available of the 'Mats in their prime. There's a fair amount of amateur stuff but it's...well, it's even more hit-or-miss than the Replacements were live.

Here's an exception. Much, maybe all, of this 1989 concert seems to be up on YouTube, and although it's from a hand-held camera, it's certainly watchable and the sound is surprisingly good. But it's...well, it's live Replacements. Which means for a lot of it they seem to be bored, listless, even when playing then-new songs like "I'll Be You" or covering killer tunes like "Another Girl, Another Planet."

But then there's this. Rather than getting bored halfway through—or even earlier—the band picks up speed as they go, coming out of Slim's solo like rabid gorillas, tearing through the last verse and final chorus. Tommy appears coolly ecstatic in his Kinks outfit, Chris Mars is pounding away behind them vengefully and at one point it looks like Westerberg's playing his guitar so hard he breaks a string, and rips it away before going right back to punching the chords again.

And you watch this and you just think...dammit. If only. If only. 

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