archers of loaf
What’s Left: 228 Days. 63 Bands.
Band #37: Archers of Loaf
When/Where: January 15, 2011, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Expectations: None. Honestly. These guys opened for The Love Language, who announced that they would have a special surprise guest, but the secret was never officially announced until Archers of Loaf stepped onto the stage.
Concert: As soon as The Cellar Seas stepped off the stage, the room started buzzing with rumors about who the “Special Surprise Guest” would be. The guy next to me in the front row turned to me and said, ‘Do you know who it’s going to be?’ I said I had heard rumors, but couldn’t be sure. He said, ‘Well, I drove 8 hours (from New Jersey) hoping that it’s Archers of Loaf, but I’m not positive that it will be. But I went to their concert in 1996 and have kept the ticket stub in my wallet with me ever since.’ Sure enough, he pulled out the ticket stub and showed it to me.
That right there was a smack in the face. I hardly knew anything about Archers of Loaf. If you’re on my boat, here’s a brief history: they formed in 1990. All four men are North Carolinians, and they had a great streak, including touring with Weezer. They broke up in 1998 after one member was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Thirteen years later, on January 15th, 2011, they took the stage again, ironically on the last stage they played on, this time to open for The Love Language.
So. Here’s how it went down: the four guys took the stage while the crowd went wild. People started screaming, perhaps even shaking. The band’s movements immediately mimicked their music; all three guitarists would get low to the ground when playing the softer music, then absolutely rock out when it got louder. Bass guitarist Matt Gentling really was a sight to see. It almost felt like I was watching a real-live Guitar Hero performance. He was doing kick jumps, 360’s, pelvic thrusts…the whole shabang.
Before long, white things were being thrown toward the stage. It took me a second to realize that they were…marshmallows. I’m not sure if this is a tradition, though it seemed not to be when Gentling remarked, “For years, I used to dream about playing on marshmallows. It kinda sucks, kind of a let down.” Apparently having their feet stuck to the stage wasn’t as cool as they imagined it would be.
For the entire show, the crowd was outrageously enthusiastic. Fans were yelling the lyrics probably just as loudly as frontman Eric Bachmann himself. Despite a thirteen year hiatus, their fans hadn’t forgotten one word of any of their songs. But it wasn’t just the fans who were incredibly thankful, including one who belted, ‘You changed my fucking life!,’ the band members themselves were also very appreciative of the opportunity.
When the show ended, nobody knew if or when they would take the stage next. People were begging and pleading for an encore, though it wasn’t granted. They played an entire 12-song set, not such a small feat for a band that hasn’t played together in thirteen years! After they left the stage, fans continued to scream and cheer for them, some even diving onto the stage to grab the remaining set lists.
Concert Afterglow: I had never been to a punk rock show before. This was certainly an experience, and though I wish I could have been a bigger fan beforehand, this was absolutely awesome nonetheless. Wow. Still shocked.
Recommendation: Well, I’d like to say this is a must-see, but who knows if they’ll ever take the stage again.