Meat Puppets: Boston Lilli’s

Cobain's faves the Meat Puppets still rock, shambolically...

They say sunstroke can cause incoherence and hallucinations. So what’s this? The only remaining member of the original Meat Puppets lineup, Curt Kirkwood back after five-year stint drinking brown water in the desert, head like a bramble, trying to babble his way to recovery? It’s the return of the spaced cowboy.

“When I’m up here, I like to think about movies and I was just thinking

about that movie, ‘A Few Good Men’. I was just thinking how it would be better if Keanu Reeves was in it,” Kirkwood explains before another bewildered pause. Sure, it’s absolute nonsense, but for all those punkers

who’ve kept their Butthole Surfers and Minutemen tees in mothballs for the last ten years, it’s the gospel – an alterna-rock Easter. They’ll be the first to tell you, they liked the Meat Puppets even before Kurt Cobain said it was cool. Swear to God.

While Iggy Pop lookalike drummer Shandon Sahm, bassist Kyle Ellison, and ex-Bob Mould accomplice Andrew Deplantus cut it up with crop-circle precision, Kirkwood quickly reminds everyone with example that his crypto-mystic lyrics and monotone vocals are more like a wild hacking.

He chokes the haunting frailty of Cobain’s memory right out of ‘Lake Of Fire’, scaring it away with a death-rattle shout that’s every bit the sound of hell. Even worse, there’s a rumor that Kirkwood has adopted some sort of rap-rock delivery on the new album. Luckily, these reports prove bogus and although he breaks out a

half-spoken, half-sung, Rolf-meets-Animal-from-The Muppets style for new

songs like ‘Hercules’ and ‘Take Off Your Clothes’, it’s mostly back to basics for the Pups.

So, Kirkwood stomps and staggers around the stage, rocking back and forth like a hobby-horse, making Neil Young guitar-god lighting bolt friction between his frets and his nimble fingers, cracking out old favorites ‘Up On The Sun’ and ‘Plateau’. And with all the appropriate lack of rationality, the Meat Puppets are reborn, to a tuba-led funeral dirge coda entitled ‘Fatboy/Fat/Requim’. The long strange trip just got longer. Stay out in the sun boys, lucidity is overrated anyway.

Ben Wolford