So I went to graduate school in Pittsburgh in 1990. To most people, this wouldn’t mean anything, but to those with a passing knowledge of the town’s taste in music, they know exactly what music was huge there……music that wasn’t popular anywhere else in the country.
Only in Pittsburgh could you see Nice Strong Arm or Steel Pole Bath Tub play to a full room where they couldn’t get arrested elsewhere in the country. A few of those bands that were godhead in Pittsburgh eventually grew into more mainstream acceptance: Bastro, Slint, Codeine and Bitch Magnet.
I remember seeing Bitch Magnet along with Lubricated Goat (another Pittsburgh fave) and Sludgehammer (featuring future Don Caballero guitarist Ian Williams on drums and the mope-core genius Karl Hendricks) at the Upstage Lounge in the Oakland neighborhood in 1991 and man, what a study in opposites. On one hand, you had the junked out rockers in Lubricated Goat looking for drugs and wanting to get fucked up before the show (probably with Kris K) while the studious nerds in Bitch Magnet sat at the bar sipping on Sprites watching college basketball. The irony was further reinforced by the fact that Bitch Magnet swept the floor with the Goat. Hands down. And that night started my totally hardcore, yet totally platonic love affair with Soo Young Park.
Bitch Magnet broke up shortly after I saw them, and by the time Seam started up with BM mastermind Soo Young Park, I had moved to Athens. And in 1993, Georgia was fortunate enough to have Seam perform SIX TIMES that year. After becoming quick friends with them at their first show at the Shoebox (on Washington in Athens, formerly the Uptown and Chameleon Clubs) I continued to house Seam over the next few years as they chalked up quite a few miles on their van. I should mention that their van suffered from great disrepair in 1993 and required Soo Young and I to go to a metal shop in West Athens to get a fixture on the alternator fixed. DIY autowork in the Georgia summer blows. But I digress…..
The Georgia shows in 1993 (if I may jump back) were simply incredible. Soo Young’s then girlfriend Lexi was playing bass, Craig from Repulse Kava was on guitar and the jovial Bob Rising (fmr. Poster Children) on drums. Two shows at the Grooveyard in Atlanta, two shows at the Shoebox, one at the 40 Watt and one at the Masquerade in one year?! Christ, did anybody know how fortunate we were? Half of those shows were before Seam were to release their T&G masterpiece "The Problem With Me" leaving many to marvel that they were already beating the pavement on a record that wasn’t even released. Such road dogs.
And performing live? Man, Seam might’ve gone thru a number of line up changes, but that didn’t stop the band from being one of the true gems of the Touch & Go crown in the early 90’s. Over the years, I sadly lost touch with most of the folks in the band, but I know they play the occasional show even though geographically they’re all over the place.
For the live recording this time, I’m including 4 tracks from their final Georgia appearance of 1993 at the 40 Watt when they had Spent open for them. Such a great show! I remember Soo Young backstage just pacing around with his guitar strapped on saying "I wanna jam! I wanna jam!" and so he went out and opened for Seam doing a quick 3 minute jam by himself. Of course, for fear of embarassing Mr. Park, I’ve included that little sonic exploration.
I don’t know if Georgia will ever have the fortune of having Seam here again, but I can say that for a few years there, we got our fill many times over.
Seam – Noise jam (40 Watt ’93)
Seam – Atari (40 Watt ’93)
Seam – Rafael (40 Watt ’93)
Seam – The Wild Cat (40 Watt ’93)