I should probably just mention up front that I already had a ticket to see Archers of Loaf before I got assigned to cover it for The Bay Bridged and hence had a press badge to get me in. So if you’ve come here for an impartial review, you’re shit out of luck.
Seriously though, there are few joys in life that compare to an Archers of Loaf show. I saw them last September when they played the Great American Music Hall, and was blown away. They played more of the old-school hits at that show than they did Saturday night. And the crowd was a little more packed in back in September. But that didn’t mean the band rocked any less this time around, or that the crowd was any less into it.
No one rocks harder than Archers bassist Matt Gentling — you’d think you were watching a metal band if all you could see was him head-banging and wailing away on his bass (there’s a reason he was mostly just a blur in the photos I took). Singer/guitarist Eric Bachmann barked out the lyrics the way only he does, and swilled from a bottle of wine between songs. And from the near-mosh pit that broke out in response to opener “Harnessed In Slums” to the singalong that was “Greatest Of All Time,” the crowd matched the Archers’ energy. You can’t help but be pumped at an Archers of Loaf show. I’m pretty sure science would bear that assertion out.
Unfortunately, they weren’t accompanied by the greatest bands of all time. I was kinda on the fence about The Big Sleep — they had some cool sounds and the drumming was pretty tight, but the vocals were underwhelming. Then the guitarist/singer threw a bit of a fit about not being able to hear the monitor well enough for the last song, even taking off his guitar and announcing that they weren’t going to play the song at all at one point. After that, I was no longer on the fence.
My takeaway on Hospitality was the opposite of The Big Sleep: I really liked their vocals, and they seemed like nice enough folks. But none of the music was all that remarkable to me, though “Friends of Friends” was a pretty catchy tune.
The first band of the night was Built Like Alaska. And that’s really all I have to say about that.