SUPERCHUNK with AEREOGRAMME at the Opera House, November 18. Tickets: $17-$20. Attendance: 250. Rating: NN
no one paid much attention tothree road-ragged members of Glaswegian emo-core sad sacks Aereogramme as they ambled onstage. Judging by their facial growth, the news of the Taliban's toppling hadn't yet reached them on tour. Nor had the demise of grunge. All night long, ex-Ganger man Craig B and his pals Campbell McNeil and Martin Scott toyed with slight variations in the tired quiet 'n' loud formula.
On some songs they'd start at a whisper, then break into a noisy thrash, while other times they'd begin loudly abrasive and then bring down the volume while maintaining a slow, dirgey chug. This only inspired yawns from the 60 or so people who showed up early. Those sitting slumped against the walls stayed put until Superchunk appeared an hour later.
Anyone hoping for an exciting burst of energy from these Chapel Hill indie-rock holdouts were in for a disappointment.
Weedy singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan and his posse -- joined on the current Here's To Shutting Up (Merge) promo swing by keyboardist Amy Hayden from Spent -- are at the point in their career where they feel it's necessary to show that there's more to Superchunk than the mediocre college pop for which they're known.
For Mac, that might mean taking a crack at film soundtrack work with his Portastatic side project, but with Superchunk it comes down to keyboards and acoustic guitars.
And although it was a pleasure to hear the Chunksters focus their collective brainpower on something other than trying to recreate the leadoff home run they notched with Slack Motherfucker, a bit of two-finger Moog messing and some light strumming was more of a step sideways than forward.
If they're serious about progression, they'll need to look beyond trying a different producer for each new album and reconsider their whole approach to songwriting from the bottom up. The size of the turnout suggests that more of the same isn't working to expand their audience.