Mike Watt + the Missingmen, Small Awesome | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Mike Watt + the Missingmen, Small Awesome Recommended Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Fri., April 15, 10 p.m. 2011

"Thirty pieces of broken-up mirror / Stuffed in the head / Spilled out here," Mike Watt growls on "Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man," the opening tune from the scrappy new Hyphenated-Man (on his own Clenched Wrench label). The terse lyrics of the album's 30 songs recast figures from Hieronymus Bosch paintings as different facets of Watt's personality, but despite that conceit it's less grandiose and unified than the former Minutemen bassist's two previous "operas." Watt's Missingmen are a trio—he's joined by drummer Raul Morales and guitarist Tom Watson, a longtime cohort who played in Slovenly and the Red Krayola—and that format, combined with the two-minutes-or-less concision of the new album's songs, can't help but remind a Minutemen fan like me of Watt's work with D. Boon and George Hurley. In the press materials Watt says that for many years after Boon's death in 1985 he avoided even listening to his old band; he faced down that pain in 2005, when he decided to help the creators of We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen. The punkish songs on Hyphenated-Man lack the melodicism Boon brought to the Minutemen, but they definitely sound like Watt's tunes for the group—angular and gritty, with his voice running the gamut from avuncular to sea-captain gruff. That's not to say it's a backward-looking album: by reclaiming the musical mode that suits him best, Watt has become stronger and more unstoppable than ever. This concert, part of a typically relentless 51-city tour, is also part of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (see page 24); Small Awesome opens. At 7 PM Schubas will host a screening of We Jam Econo and a Q&A session with Watt; that's $10, $5 if you have a ticket to the show afterward. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15

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