Last Hope, Tremendous Fucking, The Common, The Jabs, The Retreads
Ball State Student Center
Friday, Dec. 3
Muncie was always a town that I associated with old people and juvie, but Friday, when I saw the Muncie exit from I-69, I was genuinely excited, because Muncie was about to get torn apart by The Jabs and The Retreads at the Ball State Student Center.
I showed up a few minutes late and the first band, Last Hope, had already started playing; they didn’t seem to realize that they were short a bassist.
The next band was Tremendous Fucking from Bloomington, who can’t really fall into any category — rock, punk, etc. — but put on a great set, the drummer screaming, “You’re welcome!” after every song, then kicking over the drum set during the last song and running around the audience with the snare drum in his hand.
The Common played next, then The Jabs … almost. Jade and Ben, the singer and bassist, never showed up so they stalled for a while then finally played as a three-piece (renamed “The Ja” for the night) — and still managed to sound good. Scottie from The Retreads jumped in on bass after a few songs and they finished with two Dead Boys covers, and put a microphone out into the audience. I grabbed for it and sang “Sonic Reducer” with three other people, then had the mic all to myself for the second cover, “Ain’t Nothing to Do.”
Then The Retreads came on. The flyers said “final show and we’re blaming Yoko,” and it’s true: After an album in 2002 and a new six-song EP called Muncie Meat, The Retreads are calling it quits. This was their last gig, except for one more show at the Melody Inn (over 21, of course) on New Year’s Eve, but just from watching how much they seemed to enjoy themselves during their goodbye to the all-ages world, I would have guessed they would be going for a long time still.
They played 16 songs, including a few songs from the album Highway to Helsinki, including the title track and “Doing It for the Dudes,” which had everyone singing along, as did “Blue Ribbon Rock” and “Don’t Need You,” a song that could have been written by Sloppy Seconds if The Retreads hadn’t thought of it first. They played the entire EP as well. Usually it takes me a while to start to like a CD but I’m already putting some of the songs on repeat — “Dancin’ Like She Wants It” would have to be my favorite. They finished the set with a cover of “Search and Destroy” by Iggy Pop and the Stooges and managed to tear down part of the ceiling and knock down at least one light, while sending bits of a broken mic stand flying.
What really hit me was another cover, “Hey Hey, My My” by Neil Young. I had been planning on asking why they were breaking up and didn’t get a chance, but that song offered an explanation I never considered in the lyrics — “it’s better to burn out, than to fade away” — and somehow, whether intentional or not, I gained even more respect for them. It’s always a shame when bands break up, but at least they seemed to be on good terms with each other.
Rest in peace, Retreads.