Mission of Burma at Music Hall of Williamsburg
January 19, 2012
It’s time to stop calling Mission of Burma an influential band, as Bowery Presents offered up before the show via Twitter: “If you don’t already know why Mission of Burma is such an influential band, find out tonight at @MusicHallofWB.”
Of course they are influential, but did you suffer ear trauma and go deaf right before May 2004? Burma tipped their musical output scales towards NEW compared to OLD in 2009! Sure, since 1983 it’s been impossible to double clutch a D or an E on your Fender without feeling a little bit like a piece of shit ripoff. And every serious, fuckaround and professional loud guitar player has been in some band and played a Burma cover (mine played “That’s How I Escape My Certain Fate” amazingly terrible), but these geezers are still making better music than 100 percent of the jerkshits they influenced. Burma is a band of the present and future. They proved that once again at Music Hall of Williamsburg last night.
About eight or nine songs in, I turned to my cousin and my girlfriend, (the usual Burma crew: we’ve probably seen Burma together eight or nine times) and I said, “They haven’t played any OLD OLD songs yet … Fuck influential!” (You see I was already pissed and had a lot of that introduction on the walls of my brain. (I say OLD OLD because ONoffON‘s from 2004.))
Mixed into that were NEW NEW songs that haven’t come out yet and I imagine are on the new record that Burma recently finished recording and I expect to come out some time after the ground thaws. They played six brand spanking new songs by my count (Once NYCtaper releases the show, I’ll be able to do the math), and each made me smile. I’m serious about that. I smiled. Sure it was nice at the end to hear the OLD OLD songs like “Photograph” and “Academy,” but I go to see what crazy guitar shit Roger Miller is coming up with now. I go to see what weird song structures they are able to pull off. I go to see what pretty chorus Clint Conley will belt out.
I could tell the band has been playing the new songs a hellofalotlately because they sounded spot on, even tigether than their older, NEW OLD or OLD OLD, stuff.
A few of the new songs were a lot louder and more chaotic than anything on The Sound The Speed The Light. Drummer Peter Prescott had a lyric sheet in front of him and roared behind the kit for two of the new songs, which makes me think the new album may be more like The Obliterati, which was heavy on Presscott singing songs. But I won’t even really think about it until it comes out because every Burma album is its own.
A special treat was “Max Ernst,” which, immediately before Roger Miller said they had not played in 2006, my cousin turned to me and said, “Haven’t heard this in a while.”
Music Hall was half-capacity, maybe because nobody likes to continue seeing “influential” or, dare I use a word from the ShortWaveRockin graveyard of rockwrite terms, “Seminal” bands running through the hits from 30 years ago. If they were aware these four dudes (I didn’t forget you, Bob) were currently creating the best punk music on the planet, maybe it’d have been sold out with a line running down the cold, cold street.
To see photos of last night’s show, check out Impose magazine. Photo above is a shot of last night’s poster Roger Miller sold off the stage afterwards.