Matias Corral The story of February 2013 in music was 2003 (Sorry, Thom…
- Posted on Oct 4th 2010 3:30PM by Jason Cohen
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There was. First, an epic, thrashing take on the 'Hearts of Oak' live favorite 'Ballad of a Sin Eater,' Leo shedding his guitar to stalk the stage old-hardcore-style. Then, the genius cover choice: Nick Lowe's 'I Love My Label,' with the New Pornographers' Carl Newman strapping on an acoustic guitar to join the Pharmacists onstage. "This is Vegas number s---," Leo said (if a few more artists had come out to take a verse, it would have felt like 'The Last Waltz').
As the band loped on, Leo told a story: he went to high school in New Jersey withChavez frontman Matt Sweeney, who in 1989 was in a group called Skunk. Signed to another legendary indie, Minneapolis's defunct Twin/Tone, at the time, Skunk played a show at Maxwell's in Hoboken, and Sweeney told his friend that he should get there early, to check out this great opening band called H.P. Zinker.
The Austrian duo was Matador's first signing, and, Leo told the crowd, "I have walked with this label for all of the 21 years since then ... I've been on a lot of labels ... One thing they all have in common is they f---ing love music."
Leo took great pains to explain that Lowe wrote the song ironically, but that he was playing tonight in all sincerity. This was probably unnecessary, but his point remains -- the music business is a world where artists usually write attack songs about record companies, from Graham Parker's 'Mercury Poisoning' to former Matador band Spoon's song about their Elektra A&R rep, 'The Agony of Lafitte.' But Matador, at least for all the bands in Vegas, inspires only loyalty.
Leo actually provided several other hallmark moments of the weekend. He and Canadians F---ed Up shared a stage in the Palms Ballroom at 2AM on Friday, taking turns with covers -- including songs by Superchunk, Nirvana, Mission of Burma, the Misfits and Black Flag -- and one-upmanship. On that night, he also did a brilliant solo acoustic version of Liz Phair's 'F--- and Run,' which prompted Phair to seek him out so he could join her on for it Sunday. When they finished, Phair kissed him on the cheek and he rushed off-stage, quite possibly blushing.