Matthew Sweet and The Bridges at the State

Matthew Sweet, proud owner of the most decadent bird bath in rock and roll. Photo by Henry Diltz; courtesy Shout! Factory.

I’m a bit late weighing in on Matthew Sweet’s show at The State Wednesday night, and really, I don’t have a lot to say about it that my DCist colleague Dave Weigel didn’t cover yesterday. Sweet’s five-piece band sounded great on the new stuff from this year’s Sunshine Lies LP and on the equal number of oldies from 1991’s Girlfriend and 1995’s 100% Fun. Former Television guitarist Richard Lloyd nearly stole the show from the headliner.

But I’d have to call the evening a mixed success at best, because the entire show, including the three encore numbers (and two stage-exits-and-back) was a mere 70 minutes long; a pretty slight workday for a headliner. Sweet only played an hour the last time I saw him, but he was sick that night, and it was 13 years and a half-dozen albums ago. I like to be sold on album cuts I may have overlooked when I hear an artist perform, and Sweet’s catalogue is plenty deep enough to fill out a longer show. (Wouldn’ it have been groovy, Baby, great to hear Ming Tea’s “BBC”?)

“Dandelion” was the one song to which the show introduced me. Sweet seemed almost apologetic about playing it, moving promptly on to the beloved “I’ve Been Waiting” with The Bridges providing harmony support. They were back again a few minutes later to harmonize on the new record’s title track. Between came “Girlfriend,” Sweet’s very own “Satisfaction,” performed, surprisingly in the middle of the set.

Openers The Bridges, whose debut album Limits of the Sky was produced by Mr. Sweet, have a an appealing sunny-70s thing. Unfortunately, their set was defeaningly loud — louder than the death metal act I saw play in Baltimore a few nights ago, and louder than Matthew Sweet. Simply being inside the theatre — not the pit in front of the stage, the theatre — was painful.

The Setlist:

01 Time Machine
02 Room to Rock
03 Byrdgirl
04 Dandelion
05 We’re the Same
06 Feel Fear
07 I’ve Been Waiting (with The Bridges)
08 Girlfriend
09 Sunshine Lies (with The Bridges)
10 Someone to Pull the Trigger
11 ???
12 Flying
13 Sick of Myself

ENCORE:
14 Divine Intervention
15 You Don’t Love Me

ENCORE:
16 Superdeformed

Openers The Bridges. Photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media.

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