At the end of Steve Wynn’s set at the Lizard Lounge a week ago Thursday night, he uncorked “Days of Wine & Roses,” one of the few old Dream Syndicate songs that he still plays at nearly every show. “Let’s take it down,” he said to his band after the climactic guitar jam. They obliged. “No, I mean take it way down,” he said. They took it down to silence and he did the last verse a cappella, with plenty of audience shout-along, before the band crashed back in. Sure, the song itself is tragic and cynical, but on this night it was the stuff of classic-rock celebration.
It was the perfect moment to cap a set otherwise built around material from the latest album by Wynn and his Miracle Three, Tick . . . Tick . . . Tick (Down There). Tick’s world view makes the darkest of the old Syndicate stuff sound chipper, yet it’s also one of the most fun rock albums of the new year. Although Wynn has referred to garage rock throughout his career, this is as close as he’s got to the pure essence. The raw sound is well suited to his latest batch of lyrics, which tend to place characters in desperate situations and give them a few minutes to explain how they got there, or at least have their lives flash before their eyes. The album has touched off a rediscovery for this long-time critics’ favorite, so the Lizard was nearly full on Thursday night. Wynn did his usual solid set; what was new was the intuitive chemistry between him and the Miracle Three. It’s the first long-running band he’s ever had, with three albums to their credit (even the Dream Syndicate never made two albums with the same personnel), and they’re comfortable enough to rework songs on the spot. In particular, guitarist Jason Victor fit well into the loose-cannon slot previously occupied by Boston figures Chris Brokaw and Rich Gilbert. On the new disc’s finale, “No Tomorrow,” Wynn and Victor locked into a double-guitar workout that was both an epic resolving of tension and a nifty Allman Brothers homage.
: Live Reviews
, Chris Brokaw, Allman Brothers, Dream Syndicate, More