Baseball Project Rock Without Buck

The poster gave the impression of a terrific triple bill: The Baseball Project, The Minus 5 and Steve Wynn.

But the show at the modestly-sized Iota in Arlington was the project alone – a group that incorporates key members of the Minus 5 (Scott McCaughey) and Steve Wynn’s band (Wynn and his wife, the drummer Linda Pitmon). Suppose their other member Peter Buck had been out on tour with them as well? Would the poster have said R.E.M. as well?

As it happened, Buck wasn’t on the tour, playing its fifth stop last week in Virginia. In his place was a real ace in Sal Maida, a super bassist whose credentials include being a current member of Cracker as well as having served in both Sparks and Roxy Music (!) and as such the band rocked through “Re-Make/Re-Model” in tribute.

Crafty songwriters McCaughey and Wynn largely trade off numbers about a random baseball history that mostly covers their own lifetimes: Simple, heartfelt, to the point – it’s almost like a clinic in songwriting.

And when they hit home for local audiences they really do – as did Wynn’s ballad toward Washington Nationals star Stephen Strasburg, whose ambitions are humbly stated in the song “Phenom.”

But this is a band bursting with energy and when they aren’t knocking you over with their own songs “Don’t Call them Twinkies” or “Ichiro Goes to the Moon,” they’re knocking you dead with covers, including at the Iota, the peerless “Shake Some Action” from the Flamin’ Groovies, a song McCaughey said should be the National Anthem instead of the actual one. Which they’ll be playing Monday when they play the home field game of the Binghamton Senators, which sounds like it ought to be fun to go see.

(And then Tuesday, Strasburg is pegged to return to the Nationals’ mound after being out all year with Tommy John surgery).

This entry was posted in Music. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.