The Mummies at Maxwell’s and SouthPaw
“So why do you think they played here in 2002?”
I turned around and saw my friend Jan laughing, as he brought over Maxwell’s and Telstar Records owner Todd Abramson to ask me this. I climbed drunkenly over another friend and sat on the top of the booth seat. “Well,” I said, “it was listed on their website and I’m pretty sure I saw it in the Village Voice.”
You see, ever since November 2002, I’ve been kicking myself because I missed the Mummies play at Maxwell’s (presumably to promote the then just-released Never Been Caught CD.) Or I thought I missed it. According to Abramson, the Mummies did not play Maxwell’s in November of 2002; he wasn’t aware it was listed on their website and said it was probably just a joke.
All these years, even after moving to the Midwest, I’ve been keeping tabs on Maxwell’s shows so I wouldn’t miss anything special (or at least know what I would miss beforehand). Goddamn those anti-technology jokers, they used the Internet to pull one over on me! Somehow, in all my confusion, the Mummies managed to actually play three area shows (over two nights) as a stop over on their way to two European gigs.
I had no idea what to expect… the band that hasn’t been active in 15 years (except for one show in Spain last fall.) The set started a little rough… the sound was off, the crowd was dead… I thought things were going to shit real quick. You know the kind of flaming beer shit you have almost every Saturday? It ain’t pretty but you feel oddly satisfied when it’s done. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much but I will say the band picked up as the set progressed. Guitarist Larry Winther played some flaming solos bent over backwards.
Vocalist Trent Ruane held his keyboard above his head several times, threatening the crowd. The second featured the same wild antics (substituting running tackles for back bending solos) and the crowd was significantly more loose (read: drunk). I still don’t understand where the circle pit came from. Both sets were filmed with vintage cameras (I couldn’t make out the name and no one I asked knew either.)
Openers the Back CC’s (a Japan-by-way-of-New York high-energy rock and roll outfit) channeled obvious heroes Teengenerate. They even played the Isley Brother’s “Shout” during their second set, a song I’m surprised more garage bands don’t cover.
The Mummies fucking killed Southpaw. The set started off with Ruane standing on top of his keyboard as the curtains opened. He jumped up, grabbed a rafter beam and the band slammed into Felix Cavaliere’s “Come on Up.” The show was non-stop high energy from there (this time minus the running tackles.)
This set was also filmed and I noticed one of the cameramen had his own digital video camera on top of the vintage camera. I wonder what technology purists the Mummies thought of this, and all the people taking pictures with cell phones. It’ll be interesting if this footage is someday released, with the juxtaposition of the grainy, black and white film and dozens of digital cameras and cell phones snapping away.
The Back CC’s opened again and didn’t disappoint. They’ve got a 7” and 10” coming out soon. Hopefully this will be the beginning of something big for them.
I was happy the Mummies played “Planet of the Apes” during all three sets. Beyond a few friends and myself I didn’t know so many people loved the song; I assumed most people thought it was just a novelty song. I think they played “Zip A Dee Doo Dah” (or however you fucking spell it) all three sets, which was hilarious. The Mummies did a good job switching up the sets but still managed to play all the (s)hits: “Food, Sickles and Girls” twice, “That’s Mighty Childish” twice also, “Stronger Than Dirt”. Goddamn, goddamn!