|American Music Club Psychic Pig,Bath January 22nd 1992|
|Five songs in and three guitars down, Mark Eitzel is beginning to display a distinctly haunted look. The man has demons like a stray dog has fleas and all of them are scratching like hell tonight. Nervous, wary, anxious, he approaches the mike one more time."Ok,this is our token Yes cover." Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the weird and getting weirder world of American Music Club.
After nearly a decade of relentless gigging, the Californian singer and his four-piece band finally came in from the cold last year with 'Everclear', a guitar-heavy collection of country-tinged laments. This tour should've been one of celebration but the look of pained grief hogs at least 90 per cent of prime time viewing on Eitzel's face does not suggest an easy ride.
The choice of songs ranges right across AMC's eight-year career with little attempt to promote recent (or even available) material. Highlights include the beautiful 'Firefly',which benefits greatly from Bruce Kaphan's pedal steel, while 'Ex-Girlfriend' sounds even more bitter live than it does on record.
Unfortunately, halfway through the set things begin to go badly wrong.The technical glitches are becoming too frequent, and perhaps Eitzel realizes that even though this is only the second night of the tour, already his voice is beginning to sound like Tom Waits after a trachetomy. In any case,a criminally mangled 'Dead Part of You' signals a dramatic leap from grace which will see him increasingly reluctant to actually play anymore songs, while constantly muttering about leaving the Psychic Pig altogether.
And he makes good his threat after less than an hour, Eitzel and drummer stomp off stage left, leaving their lead guitarist to finish the set with what may or may not be a Merle Haggard number, but it is certainly not one the rest of the band know. The evening,having gradually slid from the sublime to the ridiculous, is now irredeemably sunk in the land of the downright farcical.
Not their night, perhaps, but still a disappointment in spades.
Review by Andrew Collis for Select
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