Superchunk at Fitzgerald's, 2/7/2014
As nations united in Sochi Friday to celebrate an age-old Olympic tradition, Houston Gen-Xers skipped the Opening Ceremonies and gathered at Fitzgerald's instead, to celebrate another timeless wonder: '90s rock powerhouse Superchunk.
While the crowd at Fitz wasn't particularly full as the indie-rock vets and DIY pioneers took the stage, quality certainly outweighed quantity; those in attendance were Superchunk superfans, which made the show -- and general experience -- that much more worthwhile.
The Chapel Hill-based quartet, which formed in 1989, took the stage right on time -- early, even -- after all, this wasn't their first rodeo. Front man Mac McCaughan nostalgically acknowledged the first time they played Fitz (in 1991) before even playing the first song.
"It's good to be back," McCaughan said warmly. "Houston doesn't look much different!"
He was clearly in good spirits, also informing us that Superchunk actually wrote the No Pocky For Kitty track "Skip Steps 1 & 3" in Fitz' green room decades earlier, an inside scoop the crowd just ate up.
Energy was high as the band kicked off the set with "Out of the Sun" from their most recent album, last year's wittily titled I Hate Music, as front-row fans bopped along with drummer Jon Wurster's every beat. Not surprisingly, the set list was heavy on newer tunes, though several older gems like "Cast Iron," "Detroit Has a Skyline" and "The Majestic" were included, too.
Noticeably absent from the Superchunk lineup was beloved bassist Laura Ballance, who has evidently been battling the hearing-related ailment hyperacusis, and was replaced with touring bassist Jason Narducy (Verbow, Bob Mould, Split Single). While Ballance was missed, Narducy's energy meshed flawlessly with the rest of Superchunk.
Fans were optimistically persistent with requests throughout the show, including shouts for "Precision Auto," among others.
"There are no bad ideas," McCaughan joked, politely dodging some particular requests.
Review continues on the next page.