The Replacements is one of my favorite bands. Not surprisingly, many of my current favorite bands cite The Mats as an influence and I can hear The Mats in their sound. Years ago when I saw Tommy Stinson’s Bash & Pop (Friday Night is Killing Me) after The Replacements broke up, I was surprised at how much the band sounded like The Mats. After all, most of us thought of The Mats as Paul Westerberg’s band. Then this past summer Stinson was on tour and I saw him for the first time in many years at Bowery Electric (another show I still have to write up) where he played his solo stuff along with some old Bash & Pop. I was excited to hear that there was going to be a new Bash & Pop album (Anything Could Happen) and bought a ticket as soon as the Mercury Lounge show was announced. rtb and I got there early and got seats (where we could stand and see the stage easily) on the brand-new banquettes under the brand-new sconces. There were some older men on the line outside and, as always, I notice the white-haired men and then realize they’re the same age as me.
First up was Mikey Erg, who is known primarily as a punk rock drummer but also plays guitar and sings. This time he was up front with his guitar surrounded by two other guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a woman occasionally playing cello. One of the guitarists also played keyboards. Erg’s vocals reminded me of Green Day – most of the songs were punk fast but he started with slow song “Waiting Out the Winter.” A Jellyfish cover became a medley with the “ah mater” section of Wings’ “Jet.” Erg kept cracking me up by pushing up his glasses with his mic. The band was fun and good opener for Stinson.
Tommy Stinson reminds me of that goofy guy from high school, who was always smiling and then you see him years later and he’s exactly the same. Despite his years as a solo artist and playing for Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum, everyone sees Stinson as that 15-year-old kid in The Mats. When I saw him (I think with the same band) at Bowery Electric everyone was dressed differently – Tommy was in a t-shirt and jeans if I remember. This time the band were all wearing the same patterned maroon suit. I was happy to see that Steve Selvidge (The Hold Steady; Lucero) was on guitar again. Joe Sirois (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) was on drums and Justin Perkins (Screeching Weasel) was on bass. Back in a dark corner was Tony Kieraldo (Tommy’s neighbor) on keyboards, who joins them occasionally.
The band played their single “On the Rocks,” which Stinson said they’d be playing on Stephen Colbert’s show. (If you watch it online you’ll see Tommy and Stephen wrestling at the end.) We heard a couple of Stinson’s solo songs and a Rolling Stones cover. Before “Come to Hide” we were teased with Chuck Berry and Nirvana riffs. And I found out why Bash & Pop sounds like The Replacements – Stinson explained that he uses the same open tuning as Westerberg used. I really enjoyed Sirois’ drumming – he was perfect. And, as always, Selvidge killed on guitar.
There were requests for Mats songs including “Gary’s Got a Boner.” Stinson told a story about getting tons of texts when Tim Kaine said his favorite band was The Replacements and it was a crazy time for Stinson. He’s devoted to his kids and told stories about them. Stinson started the encore on solo acoustic guitar and then the other band members joined him. The show was punk and pop and had me smiling the entire time. Tommy Stinson is having way too much fun onstage – we should all be that lucky.
Not This Time
Fast & Hard
Rip This Joint (Rolling Stones cover)
On the Rocks
Never Wanted to Know
Come to Hide (Tommy Stinson song)
He Means It
Not A Moment Too Soon (Tommy Stinson song)
Anything Could Happen
It’s a Drag (Tommy Stinson song)
Destroy Me (Tommy Stinson song)
Nighttime (Big Star cover)
Never Aim to Please
By Carene Lydia Lopez