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Bad meaning good
Foam íNí Mesh get next-level on joke metal; Paul Westerberg reviews his own gig
BY WILL SPITZ

"I will walk the fuck out of here," threatened Foam íNí Mesh frontman Nubs Zanella last Thursday night at Remingtonís, the bar/restaurant/comedy club opposite the Common on Boylston Street. He was protesting the abominable PA system, which was garbling his fake-redneck accent. For the only time all night, Nubs ó known to the authorities as Matt Hooker, to Boston metalcore fans as the guitarist in Random Acts of Violence, and to Robby Roadsteamerís mom as her sonís worst nightmare ó was not joking. The lyrics to Foam íNí Meshís "Mustache Rides Are Free" are lewd, ludicrous, and side-splitting, but you wouldnít have known that unless you already knew the song. It just so happened that almost everyone did. When the PA crackled from bad to useless, the band turned it off completely. Thereafter the show became a drunken sing-along, with gals and guys, arm in arm, harmonizing on choruses like "Iím gonna finger you until my mom comes home" and shouting instructions for infamous sex move "The Shocker" in unison: "Add one finger to the sign of the devil." Outside the bar after the show, Rob Mills, a Foam fan from Somerville, summed up the night: "The sound sucked. The club sucked. The band sucked. It was the best time Iíve had in a year and a half."

The next night, a little farther up Boylston, a sweaty Paul Westerberg summed up his just-completed gig at the grand opening of the new First Act Guitar Studio. "This is like one in a million," he said, slugging back Makerís Mark. "I donít like playing for people who donít sort of know who I am." Assured that there some people in the audience familiar with his music, he added, "There were definitely some suits there. It brings me back to when we [the Replacements] first started and people used to stand like this [blank stare] in front of us. We used to open for Black Flag, and Henry Rollins would be sitting out there in front of us like that. So Iím used to being ignored."

It had indeed been a funny scene ó imagine a whoís who of Boston pop plopped down in the middle of a showroom, surrounded by walls of guitars, hors díúuvre, cocktails, businesspeople, contest winners, and the few Westerberg fanatics who managed to talk their way in. About halfway through a loosey-goosey 45-minute set, local producer and former Neighborhoods frontman Dave Minehan, whoíd once toured as part of Westerbergís backing band, joined him on guitar. Their last three songs were a highlight: rousing versions of the íMats songs "Valentine" and "Alex Chilton" plus the suddenly topical "House of the Rising Sun." "I had never played that song publicly. It felt good," Westerberg told me later. "Dave was gonna sing the last verse, but I looked at him and he gave me the look like, ĎI canít remember it.í So I sang the first one over again." After the song, Westerberg promptly smashed his guitar (a signature model, yet unnamed), then thanked First Act and walked off. "I thought it was great," said Buffalo Tomís Bill Janovitz after the Minehan/Westerberg finale. "Usually with these in-stores, they have someone like Nuno Bettencourt play, and these guys couldnít get through the first song you learn at guitar lessons."

Will Spitz can be reached at wspitz@phx.com


Issue Date: September 16 - 22, 2005
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