I went to see Mike Watt + the missingmen at the 506 last night out of a confluence of circumstances; mostly, frankly, curiosity and generosity. My punk education — my history of punk education, I guess — continues apace at Pam’s hands, with help from H. and Dr. Nick in West Fucking Virginia, but I basically knew that Watt was a legendary bassist, a founding member of the Minutemen, and now he was making solo albums and writing weird jazz-punk fusion operas.
I am not sure that I have ever heard a song by the Minutemen, frankly. (Yes, sometimes I am embarrassed to know myself. Pam is sending me a compilation zip file as we speak, I think.)
But I went, and Free Electric State opened with their particular brand of pysch-punk (I dug them, but they are not something I would seek out myself; Ash is right, though, in that while they’re not really my everyday speed, they’re really fucking good, so thumbs up), and then Mike Watt, who looks a little beat up (knee brace) and run down (in his 50s and still badass!), came out with his guitarist (his age) and his drummer (dude about my age), and as soon as he strapped on his bass, you’d have thought he was 20.
I’m not sure I understood Hyphenated Man, or whether it had a plot or anything like that (probably, but I’m stupid sometimes), but I really dug it. Like Free Electric State, it’s not the kind of music that I seek out, but it was fascinating and complex, and after I finished shooting I was happy to give up my stage space to aging punks and sit at the bar and let the whole sound of it wash over me. Here’s what I learned last night: Mike Watt is a phenomenal goddamned bassist. He always has been, and he still is. He blew me away.
So I was really glad I went, even though I’m still not sure I got anything that happened. I had fun, and I liked what I heard, and that’s that. Full set here.
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Wish I could see Mike Watt! Dr. N. saw him with the Stooges at All Tomorrow’s Parties some years back. We can hook you up with more Minutemen if you need – or whatever else – you TOTALLY have to hear Double Nickels on the Dime.