XX Merge night one is over after seven hours and we're starting to bringing you our coverage. To keep the post lengths reasonable, I'm going to divide them up, including just a couple of bands in each post.
The first band to hit the stage shortly after 7:15pm was Asheville band Pure. The band played their first show in 18 years. The set was short, but the band seemed to enjoy turning the amps up and hitting the fuzz pedal like they used to. The syncopated riffs and droning chords roared throughout the club, much like it probably did in the early 90s (I wasn't actually there, I'm just speculating). Drummer Danni Iosello gets huge props for playing the drums in heels. It doesn't sound like a good idea, but it didn't seem to phase her at all. I don't know the song titles, but they played music from their sole Merge 7" "Ballard" as well as a song called "Furnace" (I think). The band's set was a cool way to re-visit Merge's early days, before label had released their first full-length record.
Next up came sometimes Dinosaur Jr. bassist, but fantastic singer songwriter on his own, Lou Barlow. He came on stage and said "I am here symbolically representing myself." The short solo set was fantastic, even though Barlow admitted that he usually doesn't play acoustic sets. It featured some new songs from his forthcoming Merge release Goodnight Unknown including the song "Too Much Freedom." Barlow said that he was bummed that he couldn't stay for more of the celebration, but he has to catch a flight to Japan on Thursday so he can play a "rock festival" with Dinosaur Jr.
Check out photos of Pure and Lou Barlow below. A post featuring another pair of bands from night one of XX Merge will follow shortly.
[all photos by Kevin Norris]