This was a homecoming of sorts. The recently reformed Dream Syndicate, leaders of the Paisley Underground back in the 80’s were playing a club that was usually reserved for hair bands. The last time I was at The Troubadour, I saw Warrant and The L.A. Guns. Now I am older and it is harder to get out to club gigs, especially in L.A. Traffic and on a Friday night it is a freaking nightmare….and throw down lane closures and street repairs in progress…crimony, don’t even think of parking close to the venue! Anyways, I got there early, heard the soundcheck and met my friend Pam and had dinner at Dan Tana’s. I was born in Los Angeles and lived my entire life within 30 miles of L.A., yet this was the first time I had ever been in this iconic restaurant. Anyways, as we are eating the entire band walks in and sits right next to our table. As we were leaving I stopped and said hi to the guys and wished them a great show and thanked them for reforming. You see back in the old daze, I would see Dream Syndicate everywhere. I must have seen them about 20 times. The most memorable was at Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach. I ran into Steve Wynn earlier in the afternoon walking the streets looking for a poolroom. Anyways, only about a dozen peeps were at the Fender’s show…but one great show it was…albeit possible chems were involved…and I am not talking about the audience. We were all young and foolish, right? So almost thirty years later I am witness to a very professional, highly evolved rock shaking unit. They are tighter than ever before with Mark Walton and the steady as a rock Dennis Duck keeping the rhythm going while Steve Wynn and lead guitarist/shredder Jason Victor go to new experimental heights. Not relying on early feedback but more on subtle hammerhead guitar interplay and dynamics. Now I am not going to delve into the past…find out for yourself, The Paisley Underground movement, Kendra, the Precoda years, Paul B. Cutler etc..but this show was possibly the best that I have ever seen them…EVER! The Replacements-like mess and fun is absent but one could tell that the set list was getting shaken up and maybe for us L.A. folks, we were being treated to the odd, early rarity.
The set opened with “Some Kinda Itch” from their debut e.p. on Down There records. The set was heavy with early Syndicate interspersed with great offerings of their latest (which is a great album). Highlights included “Halloween”, “That’s What You Always Say”, “The Days of Wine and Roses”, “Armed with an Empty Gun’, “Filter Me Through You”, “Out of My Head”…Dig this encore, “Still Holding onto You”, “When You Smile”, “Sure Thing” and an incredible elongated “John Coltrane Stereo Blues”. The show left the audience wrung out (one member even fainted and the show had to be stopped for medical treatment), exhausted but full of energy. (This once again proves that getting older doesn’t mean you have to hang it up. It showed how great a career Dream Syndicate has had and showed the current skills of this band that is determined to move forward and bring us more memorable classic songs. It’s as if Willie Mays retired at the height of his career yet came back many years later to hit over .300 with 30 hr’s and 127 RBI’s!) Outside, after the gig, it was like a high school reunion. There was peace. There was love…and isn’t that what one thinks of when you hear the words paisley and psychedelia. So folks, if The Dream Syndicate hits your town or comes close by, by all means, they are a MUST see! Oh by the way, I can hear those bells again, I can hear those bells again!!!!
P.S. Going to see them again today at Fingerprints Records for a special RSD performance. It was that great of a fucking show!
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