Live Review: Mike Watt & The Missingmen.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen ended their 56 date European tour in London at The Lexington. Exhausted? Maybe, but their performance refused to show that this was anything but a tight, energetic and entertaining act.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Watt’s influential early 80s band Minutemen may be a big part of his attraction to the crowd of very varied ages (with the show selling out well in advance), but his eclectic Missingmen era work is heartily embraced and enjoyed tonight.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Taking to the stage, he introduces what he describes as “a 45 minute song” – his third punk opera ‘Hyphenated-Man’. The work has 30 short parts, which you might frame as songs, but the band play straight through without a breather.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

With tones of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart in the jagged rhythm changes, twisted lyrics and moments of humour, the audience react warmly, with smatterings of laughter and applause, even though there are no breaks for the band to absorb and respond to the appreciation.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Watt and bandmates Tom Watson (on guitar) and Raul Morales (on drums) return for a short encore of treats from Minutemen’s ‘Double Nickels On The Dime’ album. Watt moves across the stage to squeeze himself in between his fellow musicians and lets Watson take over vocals.

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Mike Watt & The Missingmen at The Lexington in London on 19 April 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Watt departs by thanking us for giving up one of our 52 Saturdays in the year just to experience his music. I sense the crowd feel it was more of an honour than a favour to be present. Watt promises to hang around to talk to anyone who wants to after the show…a former Minutemen who has more than a minute for everyone.

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Mike Watt & The Missingmen by Imelda Michalczyk. Imelda’s website here as Rebeladelica

The Lexington. 19 April 2014. Exclusive interview with Mike Watt coming soon.

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