The last time I checked, there hadn’t been a new Live Bait release for quite some time. I wasn’t even sure if there were going to be any more. And then, when I was browsing the Phish site I saw that this had come out a few months ago. It’s so hard to keep up.
This is yet another great selection of live songs. There’s eleven songs in over three hours with most of them clocking in around 20 minutes.
“What’s the Use” opens this set. It’s an amazing instrumental and one I haven’t heard them play very often. It comes from The Siket Disc and is really stellar in this live setting (from 1999). One of the great things about the Bait discs is they way the songs jump around from different years So, the “Stash” from 1994 with its wild raging solos butts up nicely to the 30 minute “Tweezer” from 1995. The band seems to have been really fun back then with the jam section of the song being really wild. Right after the “Uncle Ebeneezer” line, they go nuts banging on their instruments. The jam proceeds along until it comes to an almost staggered halt which morphs into The Breeder’s “Last Splash” (sort of). The jump to 2010’s “The Connection” is only jarring because I haven’t heard too many live shows with this new song on it. But it sounds great.
Disc Two (if you burn this to disc) starts with a great 24 minute version of “Down with Disease” from 2011, and then jumps back to 1998’s “Bathtub Gin” which is also kind of wild and zany. I gather that their shows may have mellowed some over the years. I like the way the jam section of this song returns to the melody of “Gin” since most of the time the jams just kind of fade out. 1992’s “My Sweet One” is a lot of fun. There’s a really long intro before the lyrics (almost 3 and a half minutes) during which they play the Simpsons theme and Fish shouts “oh fuck” but who knows why. There’s also thirty seconds of silence as they try to find the “pitch, pitch, pitch” before the final “name.” “The Mango Song” is 18 minutes long. The jam section starts around 5 minutes in and the first five minutes still sound like the Mango Song (because of the piano) then the last 8 are really trippy with lots of echoes.
Disc 3 opens with “Fee” which I always love to hear and assume they don’t play much anymore (based on nothing, really). There’s a 5 minute jam before the start of “The MOMA Dance” which you can kind of tell is “The Moma Dance” but not really. The song merges into “Runaway Jim.” And the final song is a great version of “Chalk Dust Torture” from 2012 (as the liner notes state: Fans of recent performances will also find the “Chalk Dust Torture” played during the iconic “Fuck Your Face” set at Denver’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.)
Glad to have the Bait back.
[READ: March 21, 2015] “In a Waxworks”
This piece was translated from the Romanian by Michael Henry Heim and comes from Blecher’s Adventures in Immediate Irreality. I don’t know what the full book is about and I found this excerpt to be more than a little puzzling. Perhaps most fascinating though is that Blecher was born in 1909 and died in 1938 from tuberculosis of the spine.
It is a series of thoughts about the infinite and how thinking about things in reality would impact his thoughts about the infinite shadow–of birds in flight, the shadow of our planet, or even the vertiginous mountain chasms of caves and grottoes.
As he was a youngish man, thoughts turn to sex, and there’s some connection to a wax model of the inner ear.
But primarily the story concerns the world as a stage–as if life was some kind of artificial performance. He felt that the only person who could possibly understand the world the way he did was the town idiot.
Needless to say all of this made him terribly melancholy.
The story ends with him realizing that the only place where reality is as he perceives is in a wax museum.
Man, I suspect that if Blecher hadn’t died from TB he may not have been long for the world anyhow.
I can’t say I enjoyed this, but I did like the ideas he raised.