Sebadoh @ the Scala, London 16.10.13

Lou Barlow's crew serve up classic slacker indie pop

Oct 23rd, 2013 at The Scala, London / By Lewie Peckham
Sebadoh @ the Scala, London 16.10.13 As an antidote to the gloom of the rained-out London evening beyond The Scala’s walls kicking the last dregs of summer out the door, its a satisfying sight to see a room full of fellow gig-goers, damp from the rain, all eager to see Lou Barlow’s slacker-pop legends Sebadoh.

After the now legendary spilt from Dinosaur Jr. and former bandmate J Mascis, Barlow has spent over twenty years with bandmates Jason Loewenstein and Bob D’Amico, including a hiatus for Barlow to devote time to his critically acclaimed Folk Implosion project.

Barlow's work has proven to be one of 90’s indie rock’s most endearing listens, much like former Husker Du mainman Bob Mould’s Sugar, an influence on many of today's younger carriers of the 90’s influenced indie rock torch.

As the band shuffle on stage they apologetically tell the crowd they are opening with a new track. This is just part of the infamous Lou Barlow on-stage self deprecation as the band launch into the chiming ‘I Will’ from the band’s recently released 8th studio album Defend Yourself. Following on from the newer material, the band then proceed to dip in and out of their extensive back catalogue.

As Barlow and Loewenstein swap guitar and bass (which they do more than once throughout tonight’s set) they play a primal hardcore song that recalls Lou Barlow's Deep Wound days, while ‘Bakesale’s License to Confuse’ and ‘Careful’ has the audience hark back to the 90’s with the songs fuzzy melodies and plaid-tinted glasses.

The highlight of the evening is of course ‘Brand New Love’ and to see Sebadoh joyously shredding through the song like it was only written yesterday is strangely uplifting and provides one of tonight's (many) highlights.

In a music scene where we have seen almost all seminal bands from the last 20 years reform to play for longtime fans and new, younger ears, its uplifting to see them playing with the vibrancy, urgency and effortless cool that made them such an important band in the first place.