Come reunion mixes darkness and light
CAMBRIDGE — Over its decade-long run, Come was one of the fiercest — and darkest — bands ever to emerge from the Boston underground rock scene. Led by singer-guitarists Thalia Zedek and Chris Brokaw, the band loosed upon listeners a maelstrom of scorched-earth blooze cut with serrated slashes of guitar, with Zedek’s anguished rasp at its vortex, clinging, it often seemed, to dear life.
Despite this dark sound, things were conspicuously light-hearted during the rare and memorable reunion of the band’s original lineup at T.T. the Bear’s Sunday night. Save for a couple of performances (a two-song set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Middle East in 2007; a festival appearance in Spain a year later), Sunday’s two-hour and two-set show was the first full-on foray by Come (in any incarnation) into its back catalog in more than a decade.
The band celebrated by printing up “World Tour 2010’’ T-shirts. Printed on the back were two dates in tiny letters: Sunday’s T.T.’s show and this weekend’s date in Las Vegas — part of Matador Records’ 21st anniversary concert. “For this tour we’re trimming the fat,’’ Brokaw told me earlier, before relating a ribald joke to the packed house to start the second set.
As the laughter subsided, it was back to business. Come eased into the gleaming gun-metal-colored chords of “Submerge,’’ from the band’s ’92 bracing full-length debut, “Eleven: Eleven,’’ and we were off.
They played all of that album, in fact, starting with the dank, slide guitar-soaked “Off to One Side’’ and ending with an IV-drip slow, charred cover of the Stones’ “I Got the Blues’’ for the encore. In between were scarred expositions (“Sad Eyes’’), blistering burns (“Dead Molly’’), and always, the intuitively interlocking interplay between Zedek and Brokaw. If there was any rust on bassist Sean O’Brien and drummer Arthur Johnson, it had been quickly scraped off by the gashes of guitar and the churning roil of a sound that, for one night at least, transcended decades and discographies.
Jonathan Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.