Live Review : Archers of Loaf at Bowery Ballroom

Archers of Loaf at Bowery Ballroom

I never understood how Archers of Loaf stayed so under the radar, despite getting a bit of radio play for Web in Front and critical acclaim for their 1994 debut, Icky Mettle.

In the last two years, after more than a decade of inactivity (while pursuing other projects like Crooked Fingers), Archers have reunited for limited tours, festivals and even a Jimmy Fallon appearance. Merge Records has also reissued part of their back catalog.

When bands reunite for tours, I have to wonder how the sound will hold up or if the musicians will just go through the motions. I caught Archers at their recent Bowery Ballroom show and I’m glad to say they didn’t fall into any tired traps. I can’t remember when I last saw a group of musicians smile so much on stage – they were clearly as happy to be there as the fans were to catch the show. In an incredibly genuine moment, bassist Matt Gentling thanked everyone for being there and said “I recognize about half of you.”

A strong performance of You and Me built momentum into a one-two punch from 1996 release All the Nation’s Airports, Distance Comes in Droves and Scenic Pastures, which launched a sing-along that pretty much continued for the rest of the show. The vibe reached a fever pitch for Audiowhore, which gave way to the happiest moshers I’ve seen. No rudeness, just a group of fans hyped up and grateful to bask in the raw, lively goodness the Archers are known for.

Their songs sounded just as fresh today as when they were released in the 1990s. Archers of Loaf are very much in good form, proving good rock doesn’t have an expiration date.

Tour Dates:
5/10 Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
5/11 Saxapahaw, NC – Haw River Ballroom (w/ Pipe, Fan Modine)
5/12 Raleigh, NC – Kings Barcade (w/ Pipe)
5/27 London, UK – Alexandra Palace (ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror curated by Mogwai)
5/30 Barcelona, ES – Primavera Sound
6/16 Toronto, ON – Phoenix (w/ Metz)
6/23 Calgary, AB – Sled Island Festival

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