Tonight: Mission of Burma (and The Gary & Black Congress) at Fitz
Holy hell-yes, people. I honestly nearly did a spit-take when I first saw on the Pegstar calendar that mindblowing, massively-influential, Boston-dwelling post-punk band Mission of Burma were coming to Fitzgerald’s tonight, Thursday, September 13th.
Not entirely sure they haven’t been through Houston since reforming in 2002, but I do tend to keep an eye on those “show” things in this city, and I sure don’t remember seeing it listed. Correct me if I’m wrong, y’all, but I think this may well be the band’s first show in our fair city since, oh, at least 1983.
Why 1983? Well, because that’s when the band decided that co-frontman Roger Miller‘s tinnitus was getting out of hand & called it quits. Miller and drummer Pete Prescott drifted off to other musical projects like The Alloy Orchestra & Volcano Suns, while bassist Clint Conley left the musical world to become a TV producer (no, seriously); not sure what happened to sound/tape-loop man Martin Swope, sorry…
While the band essentially died, their legacy thrived in the decades after, with bands like Jawbox, Yo La Tengo, Fugazi, and Guided by Voices all pulling in elements of Burma’s sound and influencing about a bazillion other bands in turn. I’d argue that there’s a whole hell of a lot of Mission of Burma out there in the world of music today, and that’s flat-out awesome.
The band reformed in 2002, unbelievably, and have had a prolific run since then. I’ve been listening to the band’s latest, Unsound, quite a bit lately, and it really, truly does sound like they’ve only gotten better over time. They still channel that raw desperation and meld it together with ridiculously-addictive hooks, and I’m loving it.
Got to talk briefly with Roger Miller this week in advance of the show, thereby making College-Aged Me freaking ecstatic. Check out the interview over here, then make plans to give a middle finger to the current downpour and get on up to Fitz tonight.
Burma’s playing with Austin/Houston crew The Gary, btw, a band I also love and which includes Trey Pool, once upon a time in the utterly incredible Celindine & Trompedo (among others). The Gary’s most recent album (that I’ve heard, anyway), Logan, was pretty damn badass.
Plus, there’s locals Black Congress, who I’m very glad to see are still playing ’round town, even if only sporadically. They’re great, too, albeit in more of a noisy, Jesus Lizard-y way; watching them attack each song like they’re fighting with big, sharp knives is a jaw-dropping experience, trust me.