It doesn’t seem quite right that I should be at work on my birthday, but here I am. Some sick sense of responsibility prevented me from asking my manager for the day off. At least I didn’t end up having to go to the big conference my company is hosting . . . in TEXAS. Line dancing with a bunch of CEOs is so not my idea of a good time.

What is my idea of a good time? Finally, finally seeing Mission of Burma Friday night, for starters. Neither D nor I had ever seen them, despite our best intentions. When they first reunited, they played a secret show at Lilli’s that my friends and I were sure we could get into. No such luck. A couple of years ago, D and I were supposed to see them open for Wilco at Harborlights, but I’d had too much beer on an empty stomach beforehand at the Barking Crab and managed to wrench my ankle but good on the way there. He took me home so I could ice it — something I couldn’t imagine Brett having done —further reinforcing just how glad I was to be with him.

After an early-bird dinner at Johnny D’s (perfect for aging rockers) with Teresa and Kevin Castle, we caught the Count Me Outs, who weren’t the loudest band I’ve ever seen at the Somerville Theatre (that being Mogwai), but who were definitely a close second. I kept thinking that my cell phone was vibrating in my handbag, but it was only the music: relentlessly aggressive, not usually my thing, but fairly enjoyable regardless. Such pile-driving punk strangely suited Hilken Mancini (ex-Fuzzy), who looked better than I’ve seen her in years. I particularly liked how her sharp ululation, like a Middle Eastern battle cry, punctuated one of the more bludgeoning songs.

Between bands, Kevin chatted with a friend of his who works at the Somerville Theatre and who offered to seat us up in one of the boxes practically above the stage.

Mission of Burma

Burma played two exhilarating sets of nearly an hour each, and pretty much ruled. (Though how I wish their promise of an intermission “live sex show featuring Bill Frist and Tom DeLay” had actually happened.) They did a lot of brand-new stuff, which bodes well for a new album. Some notable moments:

  • Peter Prescott commenting on the “Spinal Tap moment” after roadies set up the Plexi-barrier that Miller had knocked down.
  • One of the crew setting a rubbery toy on the stage, which jiggled back and forth mechanically. D thought it looked like Furby innards, while Teresa said it resembled mechanical poo. Miller and Conley took care not to step on it, but no one explained its presence.
  • Bob Weston (Shellac, Volcano Suns) joined them on bass for the last song.
  • They dedicated “Manic Incarnation” to Boby Bear, their mate from pre-Burma band Moving Parts in the late ’70s — Bear came up to the stage and blew them a kiss in thanks.
  • There was something uplifting about how much joy radiated from Prescott during the entire show — as though he was exactly where he wanted to be and loving every second. D mentioned later that he was reminded of Gil Ray, both in the power and ingenuity of his playing. It’s a rare drummer who can capture my attention, but Prescott proved endlessly fascinating
  • Celebrity sighting: we spotted J. Mascis in the orchestra section, wearing a purple Adidias warm-up jacket.

The night left me wanting to pull out my old Kustomized records, see the Alloy Orchestra again, and listen to the Binary System on repeat.

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