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Meat Puppets Recommended Free All Ages Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sat., May 30, 2:30 p.m. 2009

The mystically messy Meat Puppets reunited in 2006 after a long hiatus and some literal near-death experiences, mostly on the part of bassist Cris Kirkwood, younger brother of singer-guitarist Curt Kirkwood. Cris has survived drug addiction, which killed his wife in 1998; a gunshot wound, which he got in a fight with a security guard in late 2003; and a prison sentence, which he received for starting that fight. When he got out of jail, stayed clean, and rejoined the band for the 2007 album Rise to Your Knees, I really wanted to feel the joy of his redemption in the music—but though the record was solidly put together, it was disappointingly workmanlike. For a while there I didn’t think the Meat Puppets would be able to reclaim their old power; it looked like the story might have a happy ending for the Kirkwoods, but not necessarily for their fans. But then I saw the new lineup (with drummer Ted Marcus) in concert. The brothers threw themselves into the songs as if their lives depended on it (which they very well might), their lines weaving together and leaning on each other like two strangler figs in a riotous jungle. The new Sewn Together (Megaforce) captures this energy much better than its predecessor: its trippy, laid-back country bits radiate confident ease, and when it lets rip it’s a glorious, incendiary mess, like somebody tried to fill a lava lamp with real lava. —Monica Kendrick

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