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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What to Do Tonight: Meat Puppets

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 8:27 AM

It’s not unusual that a reunion album is marketed as a return to the glory days. But in the case of the Meat Puppets’ recent Sewn Together, it’s high praise that also begs an important question: If you’re a grizzled cult band that’s slogged through a cartoonishly tumultuous 30-year career, what exactly qualifies as your “glory days”? Sewn Together doesn’t particularly resemble the sound of the band’s critical peak (the mid-’80s) or its commercial breakthrough (the mid-’90s). In fact, the Puppets’ long hiatus was never announced so much as forced, thanks to the group’s infamous drug problems and the eventual imprisonment of bassist Cris Kirkwood. When the Kirkwood brothers finally reunited on 2007’s Rise to Your Knees (their first record together in 12 years), the album suffered from some understandable rustiness. Addressing these issues with consistent touring and the hiring of talented new drummer Ted Marcus, the Meat Puppets truly do sound back at full force on Sewn Together — a tightly devised but quickly recorded album that celebrates the band in its raw state. Along with guest musicians William Joseph (on piano) and Kevin Bowe (on guitar, dulcimer and percussion), Sewn Together also benefits from the presence of Curt’s son Elmo — a talented guitarist and budding producer in his own right. Beaten Awake opens at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588, Tickets: $10 advance, $13 day of show. — Andrew Clayman

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