The Replacements, who reunited in 2012 after their 1991 breakup, perform at the Paramount Theatre Thursday, April 9. An unpredictable band, they will be energetic at the very least, writes rock critic Charles R. Cross.
The Replacements return to Seattle Thursday, April 9, for their second local appearance in 25 years. “Back,” the band’s official news release announces, “by unpopular demand!”
That’s typical Replacements sarcasm, but in truth this Minneapolis band is much beloved in the Northwest. In the ’80s, it became one of the first indie rock groups to break into the mainstream, which inspired many in the Seattle area to think that a small region could make a national impact.
Among those inspired locally were the Young Fresh Fellows. The two groups became kindred spirits, toured together, and Replacements singer Paul Westerberg promoted the Fellows to the press more than his own group. The Fellows returned the favor, playing Westerberg’s wedding.
8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $46.25 (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).
Replacements concerts in the ’80s were often hit-or-miss affairs, depending on the band’s level of drunkenness. When they last played the Paramount in 1989, with the Fellows opening, Westerberg had shaved off all his eyebrows as part of a bet.
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That year marked the Replacements’ biggest commercial hit with the “Don’t Tell a Soul” album, and single “I’ll Be You.” The band played Seattle twice that year, the missing-eyebrows show followed by a Coliseum gig opening for Tom Petty.
Their next album failed to meet expectations, and with drug and alcohol problems aplenty, the band broke up in 1991. Founding member Bob Stinson died of those troubles in 1995. Westerberg began a solo career, and it appeared the Replacements were over for good.
Then in 2012, Westerberg and original member Tommy Stinson announced that the band had reformed. In 2013, the Replacements played their first show in 22 years, and last year headlined at Bumbershoot.
That show surprised many. Buoyed by new touring members Dave Minehan (the Neighborhoods) and drummer Josh Freese (Devo), this most-unlikely reunion was a highlight of Bumbershoot at least for energy. It wasn’t perfect (Westerberg forgot a few lyrics), but by the standards of Replacements’ live shows it was a gem.
That could have been the end of the Replacements’ second act, though Westerberg said the band “might” be recording new material, including a song titled “Are You in It For the Money.” That might be a joke but the band recently announced a two-month run of concert dates.
Whether Thursday’s tour debut will be as sharp as Bumbershoot or another drunken disaster remains to be seen. This being Seattle, and this being the Replacements, you can bet on a memorable night.
Just don’t count on eyebrows.