Beer and Pavement

Archers of Loaf Is Happening

Posted in Live by SM on February 9, 2011

This isn’t breaking news[1], but all signs point to an Archers of Loaf reunion. First, there was the surprise show the band did a few weeks ago. Then, came the information that Archers of Loaf are playing Sasquatch. A full-on reunion tour is inevitable at this point.

In case you missed the surprise reunion show in Carrboro, NC almost a month ago, there’s media out there to digest. You can watch basically the entire set on mumblepop’s YouTube channel. For those who want the audio, check Willfully Obscure‘s post.

Why would Archers of Loaf reunite?

Well, first you have to understand who the band was. AoL was the quintessential indie band of the early-to-mid-nineties not named Pavement or Superchunk[2]. Like Superchunk, Loaf hailed from Chapel Hill[3]. Unlike either of those bands, Archers of Loaf rawked with reckless abandon, pummeling their audiences into submission. Their songs were often as clever or heartfelt as any indie band, but they had a blue-collar, ruffian angle few could pull off in the underground. They were absolutely one of the most dynamic live acts of the era as they shredded and beat their way through set lists[4]. An Archers of Loaf show is one of the most intense rock experiences one could ever have.

The band nearly broke through with their college radio hit “Web in Front,” but it was not meant to be. They toured as much as any band in that time. I felt lucky to have seen them as often as I did, almost always in a shitty little club[5]. During the nineties, the band released four full-length records[6], a rarities compilation, a live album, a couple EP’s, and numerous singles.

A band’s worth, especially as far as nineties indie rock goes, is often measured on the influence they had on the scene. I have stories of Lee Renaldo sneaking underage kids into a Loaf show[7]. I’ve read Conor Oberst drop them as a major influence. They have the new and old of indie covered. They are still a uniter of a band when they’re brought up in conversation.

Unfortunately, the band didn’t make it out of the nineties, a decade they helped define in underground/indie music. Frontman Eric Bachman moved on to his side-projects including Barry Black and the nearly as successful Crooked Fingers. They have been missed and no one has yet to fill the gaping hole left in their absence.

That is, until now.

With the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, and others getting back together for another go, it only seemed logical that Loaf would join them on the indie reunion circuit[8]. There’s money to be made there. I don’t blame them. All the kids who followed them in the nineties now have real jobs and can afford to see them for five or six times what they used to pay. And we’ll gladly pay.

The question is no longer if Archers of Loaf will play again. The new thing to ponder is when they’ll play and how often. Plus, I have to wonder if they will come to Missouri, certainly not a high priority for a band that might just do the summer festival circuit[9]. However, I sort of suspect this will be an old-school Loaf tour and there’s a chance the band stops in either Kansas City, Columbia, or St. Louis. I’ve seen most of my heroes – white trash or otherwise – on their reunion stints, I certainly don’t want to miss this one.

Previously in regards to Archers of Loaf: here and here.

1That’s not what I do here. Obviously.
2I often see these three as the triumvirate of nineties indie rock and I’d challenge anyone to contradict that assertion.
3There was a time when everyone was looking for the next Seattle. Chapel Hill was the leading candidate for a while. Oh, and so was Austin, Columbus, Dayton, Athens, Portland, etc.
4And at the end of every song, bassist Matt Gentling would graciously grunt “thanks” when he wasn’t filling the void with drunken witticism.
5Two years in a row, I saw them play the now-defunct-Stache’s, a gig and all-night drive to Cleveland’s Euclid Tavern, and a final show in some shitty metal bar in Cincinnati.
61993’s Icky Mettle is easily one of the 5-10 most essential indie rock records of the decade.
7Instant credibility is thrust upon your band when members of Sonic Youth travel to your hometown to see you. A friend of a friend met Renaldo outside the club only to find that he was too young to gain entrance. Renaldo searched him out and let the kid use his ID. It didn’t work as the kid guessed the wrong year of birth, but Lee got him in anyway.
8I sometimes imagine state and county fairs being taken over by hipsters and artists. Old indie bands would play the grandstands and we’d all have a grand old time.
9STL has a newish end-of-summer thing, but we are devoid of summer festivals for the most part. My hope is that they’ll play a proper club tour with a stop or two or three in the Show-Me State.

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  1. Pizza Cottontail said, on February 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

    This indie reunion thing seems to be an annual event. Don’t forget the “classic” GBV lineup that played a handful of shows last year.

    We could start a “Which Indie Band Will Reunite to Play Coachella” pool.

    My money’s on Sleater-Kinney in 2012 and Uncle Tupelo in 2013.

  2. builderofcoalitions said, on February 9, 2011 at 7:51 am

    A GBV reunion is sort of a joke as I’m not totally sure their run ever ended. Sure, it’s the original lineup, but Bob Pollard just keeps on going. I noticed their playing a handful of festivals this year.

    I’m not taking that bet, because I think S-K, UT will happen as well.

  3. Pizza Cottontail said, on February 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Is the St. Louis concert thing (Loufest?) going to be an annual event, or was it a one-time-only festival? It looked like a pretty good lineup the first time around. It looked dad-rock-heavy, but that’s how I like it. If it’s going to be annual, I might have to meander back next year.

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