Like a Fine Wine

April 27th, 2012

Archers of Loaf – The Bowery Ballroom – April 26, 2012

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

It’s been more than a year since Archers of Loaf reunited, opening a show for North Carolina’s the Love Language at the beginning of 2011. But sometimes “too good to be true” news takes some time to sink in. Sometimes even seeing something for yourself isn’t enough to quell your disbelief. But assuming it wasn’t all a dream, Archers of Loaf hit The Bowery Ballroom last night to a jam-packed room full of fans both young and old that couldn’t get enough of the indie-rock dignitaries.

The band wasted no time, kicking things off with “Wrong” followed by “Plumbline,” both off of their 1993 classic Icky Mettle. Frontman Eric Bachmann’s vocals were set perfectly in the live mix, allowing the sharp wit and brilliance of his lyrics to be heard loud and clear over the snarly guitar sounds. In a subdued verse of “You and Me,” Bachmann sang, “I’ve been so down lately/ You’ve been so low lately/ Nothing seems to work out for you and me/ For you and me” before the song blasted off into hard-rock territory for a repeat of the verse. “I think I recognize about half of you,” said Bassist Matt Gentling, sporting a Late Night with Jimmy Fallon T-shirt.

Although Gentling was likely kidding, the show did have a certain level of intimacy to it, with smiling fans mouthing along to “Web in Front” and “Might” like they were rehashing fond memories. In most cases with bands reuniting after a long time off the stage, concerts are at best just a chance to relive what once was. But this wasn’t the case with Archers. Never mind the fact that there was some irony to the repeated chants of “Nostalgia!” during their song of the same name, they are anything but a has-been band. They say certain things get better with age, and that appears to be the case with Archers of Loaf. They also say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and after 13 years without Archers of Loaf, the band’s fans couldn’t be happier to have them back. —Dan Rickershauser