It was a Friday night in Los Angeles and the Echo was the epicenter for a rocking show featuring the multi-talented artist, Mac McCaughan. Co-founder of Superchunk and Merge Records, McCaughan had a few tricks up his sleeve with a set list that surely must have been on everyone’s minds as his immense collection of songs spans several years and several bands. The crowd was hyped and the ready for a show they would not soon forget.
Flesh Wounds, a three-piece from Carrboro, NC, opened the show with their chaotic punk rock sounds that quickly assaulted the unwilling crowd from the start of their set. Singer/guitarist Montgomery Morris was brutal on the guitar on “Magazines” and “Joy Division Killed My Boner.” The two-minute songs were cranked like gangbusters filling the twenty minute set with so many intense songs. Morris briefly announced, “We’re Flesh Wounds. We’ve got two more songs. Don’t worry, they’re really short.”
Mike Krol followed and came out with his band, all dressed in fancy police outfits, and sprang to the stage, opening with “Suburban Wasteland.” Their latest EP, Turkey, was recently release this summer through Merge Records.Krol was loud on the mic and his energy ignited a mosh pit in the center of the room. Bodies flew while the song “Neighborhood Watch” coerced the room into the frenzy. The bruised shins in the room were a gift from the Rock Gods present in the room that night, or so the legend goes.
After a brief pause, the crowd was worked up and trying to keep it cool for the headliner. McCaughan and The Non-Believers approached the stage and took their places. “Good Evening Los Angeles, it’s great to see you. Thanks for coming out everybody. I’m Mac McCaughan and these are The Non-Believers and we’re going to play some songs for you tonight. This song’s called ‘Your Hologram.’” The song began with a tearful strum that crashed like rolling waves after the band joined in. McCaughan had help from Flesh Wounds members to round out the four-piece.
The latest single, “Lost Again,” followed. McCaughan’s whimper during the hook “Yeah, lost, lost again without you my friend” was tender and sincere but then cranked it up during the second verse. The soft and melodic guitar riff possessed the audience with complete control. The song continued to build and exploded with heavy distorted guitars. The crowd loved every minute of it and sustained their applause for several beats afterwards.
McCaughan paused to tune his guitar and made small chat with the crowd, “Everyone hanging in there?” The fans reacted. “Then you have to take the kids—hey, you don’t have to take them anywhere tomorrow, it’s Saturday. Just let them rot in front of the television. That’s what I do.” The crowd laughed with McCaughan as he was ready with the next song, “White Wave.”
The band paused and walked off stage for a break. McCaughan left the crowd cheering and appeased them when he came back out. He managed to ruffle some emotions feathers with a mini solo set that included heartbreaking versions of “I’m Through With People” and “Digging For Something.” The band came back dressed in the same police outfits from the previous band’s wardrobe and finished off the set. The group finished off strong with a cover from the Los Angeles punk band, The Avengers, and a cover of Toy Love’s “Pull Down The Shades.”
Mac McCaughan has done so much since the release of the self-titled Superchunk album back in 1990 and will indefinitely continue to make music no matter what band he is a part of. The timeless rock songs of his previous bands (Superchunk, Portastatic) and the collection of new material off his solo debut, Non-Believers, made this show an amazing moment shared only by a lucky few. Songs that defined a generation were included in this set list and provided the crowd with plenty of well-crafted and catchy rock songs to keep them satisfied until the next L.A. show. Mac McCaughan’s release, Non-Believers, is out now and is making all things right with the world, once again.
Autumn Got Dark
The Angels of Sleep
Our Way Free
I’m Through With People
Digging For Something
Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
Second To None (The Avengers cover)
Pull Down The Shades (Toy Love cover)