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Smashingsun Pumpkinups at Marquee Theatre on 7/17/2010

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Weird story: So last night I went to Marquee Theatre to see standard-bearing folk-punk band Against Me!, who just put out their second-consecutive awesome album, White Crosses.

Unfortunately, the ticket line was about 100 yards long, stretching from the front doors of the theater to the bus stop on Mill Avenue. It took me about 40 minutes to work my way up to the front (it was 100-plus degrees outside, mind you) by which time the act I wanted to see was done with its set. I've since been assured it was incredible by at least a half-dozen people.

Anyway, I decided to stick around to see the next band, which, as luck would have it, turned out to be beloved 90s alt-rockers Smashing Pumpkins, on tour again and playing what seemed to be some b-sides from Gish. Pretty sweet, right?

So, yeah, the band was calling itself something new -- Silversun something, I think -- but they were, unmistakably, Smashing Pumpkins. Whatever the new name was -- Sunnyup Pickers or Smashingsun Pumkinups, maybe? -- I know they had the initials S.P., which was an obvious nod to their past.

Billy had grown his hair out but he still sounded exactly the same, belting out the refrains with his genderless drone. Bass chick D'arcy has gone brunette and seems to be recovering nicely from her bout with crack addiction. (Also, in the interest of fairness, she seems to have become a much, much better bassist now.) I guess guitarist James Iha is still fired -- or maybe he took the night off to drink some vino with his A Perfect Circle bandmade up in Cornville -- so they had some bearded white dude sitting in on keyboards. Jimmy, the drummer, was in the back not being noticed, per the usual.

Sadly, despite me yelling for "Cherub Rock" they played a bunch of weird, apparently new and definitely not-as-good, songs. One was called "Panic Switch" and it was OK but definitely no "Mayonaise." Another was called "Kissing Families" and it was really, really boring. Then there was one called "It's Nice To Know You Work Alone," where Billy let D'arcy sing a bit and that was cool.

Anyway, I hung out for awhile hoping to hear "1979" but they never made it past the shoegazey Gish/Siamese Dream stuff. That's cool because everyone likes those albums best anyway. After like an hour the place started smelling really, really bad -- I wasn't the only one who waited outside for more than a half-hour, remember -- and some sweaty dude bumped into me, moistening me with his back sweat, which is when I went home.

Pretty weird, right?

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I always thought Gish, like Bleach, was held in too much esteem based on the quality of the sophomore record.
The Crowd: Indie-fratty -- sort of a mix of people who aspire to like hip music.
Overheard in the crowd: "Sorry brah," from the guy who ran into me.
Random Notebook Dump: "Remember to take shower before bed."

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