Agony Shorthand

Friday, June 11, 2004
MISSION OF BURMA, live 6/9/2004, The Fillmore, San Francisco.....If you’ve read this site anytime the past 2 months you’ve probably seen more than enough MISSION OF BURMA blather from me. Allow me just one more rave, this time over their “second reunion tour” that touched down in San Francisco two nights ago, this time with a whole new album’s worth of songs in tow. So, first let me say they were (again) in tip-top form – one of the giants of post-punk noise squall playing like it was 1981 at the Rat and not 23 years later at Bill Graham’s cavernous Fillmore (next door to the old People’s Temple!). The band took some time to build a head of steam, but once they got going midway through their first set, it was off to the goddamn races. Rather than spend time trying to pen a coherent or interesting review, I’ll pick five highlights and leave it at that:

1. Opened with “Mica”, the lead track on Side 2 of “Vs.”, and long one of my favorite songs of theirs.
2. Hauled Penelope Houston onstage to belt out a note-perfect “this is 1978” encore of The Avengers’ “The American in Me”. Their taste in punk rock is impeccable ("American in Me" is probably the first punk rock song I ever really loved). Who needs Danny Furious when you’ve got Roger “No Man” Miller to kick out the old school jams?
3. More of Side 2 of “Vs.”: “The Ballad of Johnny Burma”, “Einstein’s Day” and of course “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate”.
4. Hard-hitting and/or complex, cutting new material like “Absent Mind”, “Wounded World” and “What We Really Were”.
5. A ten-minute “old man” break (hey, they earned it) followed by a great cover of Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine”.