Bash & Pop at The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, September 19

Why is it that Tommy Stinson always seems to be overshadowed by someone else. That is not a question; it is a statement.

Stinson with Bash & Pop put on a blistering, ruckus and spirited show at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls Tuesday night.

Across town, Roger Waters brought his spectacle to the PPG Paints Arena. Spectacle might not be the correct word for a show that features 16 screens that divide the arena in half, lasers, props and other bells and whistles. And of course music. Music that Waters has largely toured on for over 40 years.

A more elaborate stage show with bigger ticket prices to cover the same greatest-hits tour that has been in perpetual promotion for decades. The guy that sings of money, greed, us and them, is raking in the cash. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Back at the Funhouse, Stinson had zero fucks to give about anything than delivering a memorable, straight rock and roll show complete with broken strings, blown amps and all.

Stinson in the course of the show dealt with;

1. A blown bass amp. He covered it brilliantly by launching into a solo version of “Nothing” until the amp was quickly replaced.

2. A quick start of the very next song, which was as quickly stopped as the band had to tune down to the new amp.

3. Stinson broke a string in the midst of the only non-Stinson song of the night “The Kids are Alright.” Drummer Joe Sirois expertly filled in the gap while Stinson switched to his backup guitar.

  1. 4.In the very next song, Stinson broke the exact same string on his backup. With one of the best and quickest guitar tech fixes, Stinson was back and ready to go without delay.

5. A few songs later, not to be outdone by the blown bass amp, Stinson’s guitar amp went wonky before quickly righting itself.

And, yes, Rolling Stone, he noticed. Even before the show started, Rolling Stone—the once-bastion of all musical goodness—previewed the new Bash & Pop single “Too Late” featuring Nicole Atkins online. The magazine got Atkins' info and picture right, but in a fuckup that tells more the state of how uneducated Rolling Stone now is, the site featured a picture of Paul Westerberg instead of Stinson.

Stinson took the error in stride, joking about it from the stage in a brief pause in a frantic set.

The whole show was glorious in only the way it could be for someone that has had made a career of dancing to the edge of disaster only to recover within a step of the point of no return with The Replacement and, later, with Guns N’ Roses.

It was the first night of the show, and truthfully, it should not have been as exceptional as it was.

It is a testament to the group assembled for Bash & Pop this time out. More importantly, instead of taking the gaffes with mounting anger, Stinson brushed them off. The band was having fun and were attuned to each other; waiting for cues and covering for each other like a band that had been together for decades.

The setlist featured songs mostly pulled off of “Friday Night is Killing Me, ” and the new, superb “Anything Can Happen.” I will dare to say that the songs sounded better live. Not taking anything away from the recordings which are excellent, but the live setting breathes a new life into the tunes.

“Anything Can Happen” is Stinson stepping out of the shadows and deservedly into his own spotlight. Ironically in a band setting again, but that is irony we can get aboard with.

For fans, and there were plenty of them at the Funhouse for a late Tuesday night show, and they knew the lyrics and sang, sometimes, louder than the band,  this is the tour to see. So, if you're down the line from the first stop in Pittsburgh, what are you waiting for? Get your tickets now. You will not be disappointed.

For more photos from the show check out The Swerve Magazine on Instagram @theswervemagazine

To read our interview with Tommy Stinson click here