What was wound? Back in February I attended an Unwound show at the Wiltern in the inimitable Los Angeles. LA is a special city to me, given I spent some of my formative years living there and attending UCLA #4life. The things that make you you are varied and complex, but there is definitely a big part of me I take from my time in LA from 1990 to 1997. One of them is Unwound, they were the soundtrack of most of my time there, particularly Fake Train, New Plastic Ideas (1994), and The Future of What (1995). I saw them more than once at Jabberjaw in 1994 or 1995 and it was magical, I wrote about that experience back in 2010 right here on the bava.blog.
Hell, I even travelled from NYC to Seattle in 2002 to catch their penultimate show in Seattle, alos wrote about that here.
In fact, we had one of Reclaim Hosting’s servers named after this band in honor of THE post-punk band of the 90s. And guess what, I wrote about that too!
Anyway, you get the idea, I’m a fan, and have been for 30 years now. So, the idea of seeing them for the first time in 20 years was truly exciting, and I was joined by some amazing company and this show would be just one small highlight of a much larger and rewarding adventure. Nothing like going back to the land of the formative years triumphant. LA taught me how to escape the strictures of the past, and it remains a wonderful teacher.
The show was what you would expect from Unwound, honoring the memory of deceased founding member Vern Rumsey with a low key, heartfelt shout out. In fact, the show was in many ways how I remember them, subdued while rocking, and Sara Lund leading from behind the drums, and I was in heaven. There was even a moment wherein Sara engaged with the crowd asking folks how many of us saw them at Jabberjaw, my hoots and hand waving were instantaneous, along with a few other aged souls. She followed that with how many of you were not born in the mid 90s, to which a much louder, vigorous response was raised. Vindicated, Sara said this show is for all of you (suggesting the new generations of Unwound fans), as a result I was feeling a bit demoralized. I mean I could name there songs, I even tried to re-create the set list from memory the following day as traveling out to the desert to escape even more. But alas, Lund’s comment stuck in my craw. I mean, not for nothing, but how many of the other hippies in attendance traveled all the way LA from Italy to see them live? How about a little something for the effort, Lund and Trosper!!! Oh, how sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a reuniting band’s ingratitude.
Above is the set list I put together from memory of songs played (although not in chronological order) while driving out to the desert the following day. And Mikhail tuned me into the fact there is a site that does this for you, so here is the “official” setlist that I imagine is in chronological order.
As I said already, the Unwound show was only one part of a longer west coast tour with co-pilot Brian Lamb that was truly amazing, and the thing I came away with was that Unwound did the 20 year re-union tour proud with the modesty, dignity, and a stormy-minded intensity they rocked during their initial run, and the fact they’re looking forward to the future, without being hung up on the past filled with old jackasses like me represents another example of a band that knows who they are where they’re going. May we all take a page from their book, even if it hurts a bit for the frail egos in the audience. I’m glad I saw them again, and here is to the next time I rock out to their music live.