When we saw Mike Watt open for Dinosaur Jr a few years ago in Lancaster, we weren’t sure what to expect. However, the rousing energy that he brought to the stage that night with his band The Missingmen was so great that it overshadowed the headliners. On that night, they played a short set that notably included numbers from Watt’s old band The Minutemen.
This time around, Watt and the Missingmen were back to support his new album Hyphenated-Man. His main set consisted of the new record, a 30 song opera literally consisting of songs that are all named with a word, a hyphen and “man” and all inspired by a Hieronymus Bosch painting. While it was enjoyable and musically, perhaps the most Minutemen-esque work in his entire catalog since Firehose‘s 1986 debut Ragin’ Full On. Despite this, it was tough to take all 30 songs of it. However, the encore more than made up for it. It consisted mostly of guitarist Tom Watson singing a set of Minutemen classics (though Watt sang “Anxious Mofo”) including “The Glory of Man” and “Toadies” from the immortal 1984 classic Double Nickels on the Dime.
I missed opener Caterpillar, so I can’t comment on them but Split Red played an enjoyable set of noise-rock in the mode of The Jesus Lizard, Bl’ast, Black Flag or Pissed Jeans to use a more contemporary point of comparison. It was similar to the first time I saw them play with Seabrook Power Plant, but they’ve improved since then. Guitarist Travis Woodson even played an impromptu and spot-on version of The Minutemen’s “Cohesion” to honor and acknowledge the fact that they were opening for Watt. I thought it a fitting tribute.