A whole month has somehow slipped by since I went to the Black Cat to see Quasi. A friend from my old band is a big fan of them and had an extra ticket, and I was up for it. I actually saw Quasi many years ago, probably as an opening act? Maybe a decade ago. But I have never really listened to them much.
It was not terribly crowded at the main stage of the Black Cat, but the joint was full of old scenesters and I had a sudden shock of nostalgia the first time Janet Weiss walked by — it made me dreadfully miss Sleater-Kinney. But Quasi doesn’t have too much in common with S-K, except to the extent that their music has evolved in a somewhat similar direction to the path S-K took towards the end of their run — guitartastic classic rock. Just like Carrie Brownstein, Sam Coomes seems to have been working on his Jimmy Page routine pretty hard.
The performance at the Black Cat was (apparently) based mostly on their new album and Coomes mostly played guitar, and they played as a trio with a bassist who is evidently part of the band these days. A few times he switched over to keyboard and it sounded a little more like the old Quasi I was mildly familiar with. They sounded pretty good though! Real rock and roll stuff. More than anything I was reminded of Crazy Horse and Danny Whitten. I kept expecting them to break into “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown.” (See this song as an example. There is also (as I remember from older Quasi material) a lot of Beatles via Elliott Smith influence.
Fun show. They ended by noting that they have been playing a lot of Who covers and playing a pretty rockin’ version of “Pictures of Lily.” Actually it was a lot more rockin’ than the original Who version. Cheers, Quasi.
Openers Let’s Wrestle were kind of inoffensively ok. I remember finding them enjoyable but they weren’t really doing anything at all original. I liked the bass. It’s cool, I like seeing bands that are competent and unheralded. Not crazy about their name, though.