“Most Sebadoh shows are disappointing. Some are more disappointing than others. Back in the day we played some terrible shows,” says Lou Barlow nearing the end of a 30 song onslaught consisting primarily of songs from the band’s seminal ‘90s indie rock gems, Bakesale and Harmacy. While Barlow was referring to Sebadoh’s inability to fulfill crowd requests, the band managed to churn out just about every crowd pleaser.
The sell-out Bowery crowd was predominantly comprised of 30-something dudes with thick-rimmed glasses and beards, including a few Lou Barlow look-a-likes who, like me, intimately related to Sebadoh’s darkly beautiful lyrics of social displacement and hopeless love in their teens.
Not much has changed since I last saw Sebadoh 13 years ago—frequent tunings, self-deprecating humor and multiple instrument swaps all personify its live shows. The insular songwriters, Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein, took turns rotating between guitar and bass while performing their respective songs. Barlow was most electric while taking his turn violently strumming the bass and pouncing stage left with his face mysteriously buried behind his hair. The peak of which was during Loewenstein’s “Careful” as the crowd screamed along with the lyrics: “Watch out for my bullshit, everybody’s got it”.