Pitchfork Music Festival 2011, Sunday: Superchunk
"I wish I could put sunscreen on my eyeballs," said Mac McCaughan, wiping his face and blowing his nose into a white towel after ripping through another shit-hot Superchunk solo. "Normally, we have a roadie who keeps my face towels and nose blowing towels clearly marked. But today we're traveling light."
Though they may be traveling light, the Chapel Hill veterans are hitting hard. I forgot how purely rock & roll Superchunk is as a live animal. It's been about 15 years since I've seen them. The drummers standing around me talked with hushed reverence about Jon Wurster, who plays jazz style and absolutely crushes his kit. He drums how Steve Albini dreams about drums. Mac still bounces around like a teenager in his basement.
This weekend I've had several discussions about why the old '90s bands have been blowing away the contemporary guitar bands. Watching Superchunk, it struck me. The four play like they're playing in rehearsal. They look at each other, smile. Huddle by the drummer. Leap in unison. Throw in a few Pete Townsend windmills. They play like they love playing rock & roll, and like they've been playing rock & roll lovingly for two decades. Some of the other groups on this bill started as bedroom projects, solo albums. It blows up on blogs and next thing, these guys are playing on big stages like shell-shocked stars.
The quartet sped through punky, poppy songs from its 2010 record, Majesty Shredding, which in hindsight is the most appropriate album-name-to-band-style pair in a long time, and classics such as "Slack Motherfucker" and "Hyper Enough." You would think they were written within months of each other. My favorite set of the day washed the Yuck out of my mind. I know I'm getting old when I start cheering whenever the middle-aged combo blow away the newcomers. I need to go home and dust off No Pocky For Kitty and my Fender.