SEBADOH @ Mojos gets 8/10

Sebadoh @ Mojos Bar

w/ The Long Lost Brothers
Sunday, January 26, 2020


Late last year it seemed every band of a certain ilk was announcing Australian tours that left Perth off the itinerary – and indie rock heroes Sebadoh were just another on that list. But that all changed when an extra date at Mojos was squeezed in between their Japanese dates and their east coast appointments.

Long Lost Brothers

Before the headliners took to the stage on this sweaty Sunday evening, local music mainstay Andrew Ryan and his latest iteration of The Long Lost Brothers looked right at home on the North Freo stage. Playing to a small but growing audience of chin scratchers, the three-piece’s set saw Ryan employ all manner of guitar tone trickery and speak-singing atop the punchy rhythm section of former The Panda Band guitarist Christopher Callan on bass and Pat Chow frontman Benjamin Protasiewicz on drums. The hypnotic Aspirations was a set highlight, but at times the buzzsaw guitar sounded not unlike granddad’s electric shaver buzz that the frontman earlier compared to his guitar tuner’s output.


Hitting the stage exactly 232 years after some other white guys first set foot on this land, Sebadoh got straight to talking about the public holiday officially known as Australia Day. Bassman Jason Loewenstein told us it’s all a bit weird and pretty much the same deal as Columbus Day in the States (except that a bunch of states of the States made up their own minds and instead commemorate indigenous people instead).

With the pleasantries out of the way, the three-piece launched into a trio of early classics in Beauty of the Ride, Not a Friend and Soul and Fire. The crowd asked Barlow to play something happier, to which they introduced a highlight from their most recent album in Celebrate the Void with hirsute frontman saying it’s as happy as he gets. The tempo-changing headbanger showed that the band is still writing A-class material.


Swapping positions on stage, Loewenstein picked up his Telecaster to lead us through a trio of Act Surprised cuts before going back in time to Drag Down. A much more abrasive singing style than that of his now bouncing and headbanded bassman in the corner, Loewenstein threw in a quip about Barlow’s ex-wife for good measure.

Following another swapover for the two frontman wearing similar but not identical black Vans slip-ons, Barlow picked up his customised half-strung 12-string Gretsch telling us briefly about his ukulele-inspired tuning.


Dehydrated punters were more receptive to local tales rather than geek talk, so Barlow harked back to the only time he ever had a conversation with crazed bluesman Jon Spencer, which was in Perth. It’s seems Lou was so taken aback by how Spencer had a heart-to-heart with him about his children that night, that he may have hit the stage on an emotional high. Some folks may remember the night this likely took place as March 12, 2013 which coincidentally saw Jon Spencer Blues Explosion blow Lou’s day job Dinosaur Jr. off the Astor Theatre’s stage that night.

Now at the two-hour mark, they saved the most loved songs for last, with Magnet’s Coil, License to Confuse, Rebound and Ocean before the oddest part of the night. Loewenstein and drummer Bob D’Amico (who once recorded a Buddy Holly song with Lou Reed, just so you know) started playing the blues, to which Barlow started howling and feeling the sweat of the blues explosion. It didn’t quite hit Recovery heights, but it was about as lively as a slacker rock king can get in a 40 degree room with 100 percent humidity. Shutting shop with Skull, rabid Sebadoh fans couldn’t have asked for much more from their heroes.


Photos by Adrian Thomson

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