The Vaselines opened their set last night, of course, with "Son of a Gun"—if you have that song, with its infinitely loopable sing-along chours, in your repertoire, why wouldn't you lead with it? Eugene Kelly introduced the next song, "Monsterpussy," by saying, "This song is about a pussy Frances used to have—sometime she'd let me stroke it, and sometimes she wouldn't." Which illustrates a few things: one, these guys get on pretty well for an ex couple; two, they haven't gotten all dreadful serious in their old reunion tour age; and three, they're really funny as hell. Sean Nelson suggested that he'd have been as happy with the band if they'd just queued up their songs on a record player and then bantered in between. (Speaking of excellent banterers with fantastic accents: at least on half of Flight of the Conchords was in the house last night.) The band did sound great live, though, pretty faithful to the recordings only fuller and obviously more live, aided handily by Belle & Sebastian's Stevie Jackson on guitar.
They played "The Day I Was a Horse" and then "Molly's Lips," with a guy from opening band Hallways brought out to play the bicycle horn on the chorus (inaudibly for the first couple rounds). "I hope no one turned up looking for those young kids on the poster," said Frances Mckee, going on to explain that the band's long absence was due to Kelly's having been a Hare Krishna, how he had to shave all his hair off (Kelly: "It didn't take long"), and how the crowd ought not to ring any bells around him. They played "Oliver Twisted," and then they played a new song, to "prove we haven't been lazy bastards for the last 20 years," according to Mckee. The new song, a sweet mid-tempo number with typically alternating vocals between Mckee and Kelly, had a line about "you conquered me when I was weak" and a chorus of, "We got nothing to say/but we're saying it anyway," a kind of apology/explanation for both absence and reunion tour. But, seriously, a new Vaselines song!
They played "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam," Kelly saying, "Jesus was a bit of a cunt, really. I asked him for a bike for Christmas one time, and I got Monopoly." They played a perfectly droney, buzzing version of "Lovecraft." Mckee mentioned that she'd like to live in America and would anybody be interested in marrying her? To which a ton of hands eagerly shot up into the air. "The only snag is that I'm already married," she continued. "I could be Mormon, though. I wouldn't mind having a harem." Then they played another new song!, this one with a chorus of something about, "I heard her call." They played "Slushy," and then "Teenage Superstar," with Kelly introducing it thusly: "I'll be playing the part of the masturbating teenager, Frances will be playing the part of my mom—some things never change." They had a false start and Mckee cracked that they needed a new drummer, and that no, actually he was a very good drummer, making for a nice tie-in with the live disc of their new deluxe reissue, Enter the Vaseines, which captures a similar moment.
They played "No Hope, "Let's Get Ugly," "Sex Sux (Amen)" and "Dying For It," which closed out their proper set. They encored with "Rory Rides Me Raw," "You Think You're a Man," for which a Neumos employee had to open a fuse box to get the club's disco ball lit up and spinning (this song/moment, by the way, was about the only one that benefited from being inside a club rather than out in the sunshine at Marrymoor Park at last year's SP20 fest—although tonight was also a much more generous set, plus it had those new songs), and finally "Dum Dum." It wasn't quite as gleeful and revelatory (for me) as last year's SP20 show, their Seattle area debut, but it was still a great night, and I don't get the impression that anyone left disappointed, whether or not they also saw the band last year. Here's hoping new material means we'll be seeing them again soon.