February 24, 2006
Review by Jake Thomas
I cannot possibly express how excited I was when I found out that Craig Wedren was playing here in Oakland at the 21 Grand. Seeing Shudder to Think open for Fugazi when I was in high school was a life changing experience, so my love for this man’s music knows no bounds.
He was touring with the Absolutely Kosher band the Dead Science as his backing band, and they played a short set of their own music to open the show. And a fitting opener/backing band they were for our man Craig, cause even if they weren’t playing with him my review would have been “sounds like a cross between Shudder to Think and the Birthday Party”. they were pretty damn good - considering I didn’t know anything about them really, my attention was held quite well for their entire set - and that rarely happens with bands I know nothing about. I’ll certainly be seeing them again, even if they aren’t playing with Craig Wedren.
After a short break, Craig started his set playing an unaccompanied version of one of the tracks from his newish album “Lapland” - and a fantastic album it is. Then the band joined in, and the meshing of Wedren and the group was fan-fuckin-tastic. I didn’t know what to really expect, but hearing his new songs fleshed out with the whole group made me feel like I was seeing Shudder to Think all over again. And then something magical happened - they actually started playing Shudder to Think songs! I was flabbergasted - I was fully expecting just new songs by Craig, and that would have made me plenty happy...but at least half of the set were classic Shudder songs. I’m pretty sure I soiled myself over the matter. It was beautiful and moving and resplendent and insert adjective here. One of the best shows I will see all year, without a doubt.