If you're not familiar with this group, it's a side project made up of veteran musicians who love baseball and write and perform songs about the game, and who have recorded two albums to date. The leaders are Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3) and Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5), and the band currently includes R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Mike Mills and drummer Linda Pitmon (who plays in Wynn's Miracle 3).
|Steve Wynn, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey at Maxwell's. (More photos at end of article.)|
Baseball geeks will get a kick out of the lyrics, especially references to the game's bygone days and legends (such as Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, Ted Williams, Bill Buckner, and Curt Flood). But even non-fans will enjoy the music, which is straight-ahead rock and roll played by guys (and a gal) who have tons of experience and have a lot of fun playing these songs.
The Baseball Project's main set ran a generous one hour, 12 minutes, and then the band stayed on stage for a five-song encore. One of the highlights of the show was when Mike Mills took the mic to sing "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville"—it was great to see two R.E.M. members playing that song in Maxwell's, where I had seen the much-younger version of the band play in (I think) 1981.
The Baseball Project played songs from both of their albums, "Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails"and "Volume 2: High & Inside," and at one point Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo joined the band onstage to play a song.
This band is a lot of fun to see live and it doesn't perform often, so if it sounds like something you'd be interested in, see them at the Met.
(Hear a live set The Baseball Project performed at WFMU the day of their Maxwell's show.)
|Not R.E.M., but close: the band played "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville."|
An interesting side note about the Maxwell's show: the appearance of the legends in The Baseball Project brought out a number of musical figures from Hoboken's past (and some present), including James Mastro of The Bongos; Kaplan and his fellow Yo La Tengo member, Georgia Hubley; and former Maxwell's owner Steve Fallon.
|Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan joins in with some fuzzed-out guitar.|
|Mike Mills takes the mic.|