Ex-Timbuk3 man Pat Macdonald plays the Mean-Eyed Cat and Continental this weekend.
By Margaret Moser,
10:05AM, Sat. Nov. 14, 2009
Maybe the road to PurgAtory Hill has been long, but few are better equipped to make the trip than Pat Macdonald. Make that pat mAcdonald, an effective way of driving grammarists crazy or maybe just a reminder to put the damn A in his last name without mentioning “The Future’s So Bright.”
But that’s mAcdonald for ya. Do it his way or don’t do it. With two shows this weekend supporting his latest CD PurgAtory Hill, the stompbox, harmonica, and a wicked, gimlet-eyed view of the world are unquestionably his friend. Longtime fans – and not just those who’ve followed him since Timbuk3 created their Eighties anthem – know what to expect: hellfire philosophy and merciless rhythms. Teamed with sidewoman melanie jane on vocals (“Shut Up”), keyboard, and percussion, mAcdonald leads us willingly to the place where no one gets out unscathed.
“Check your lipstick and heart at the door” he advises on opening track “Sintro,” but that’s the last mercy shown on this trip through reinvented Delta blues by way of the dark highway to hell and tar-barrel bass thump. mAcdonald’s own songs (“The Little Things,” “Blues of Sin/Babylove,” “Drinkin’ or Drivin’”) are squeezed so tightly that cannily chosen covers from P.J. Harvey (“Meet Za Monster”) to Mississippi-born traditionals (“Rollin’ and Tumblin’) to vintage Iggy Pop (“Wanna Be Your Dog”) are almost indistinguishable from his brimstone oeuvre. “How much longer do I wait for this frog in my throat to turn to a prince?” he demands on “Count to Ten.” Long enough to make a princess sit pretty on a toadstool in the swamps.
pat mAcdonald brings his new band (also named Purgatory Hill) to the Mean-Eyed Cat Saturday evening, 9-11pm, and to the Continental Sunday night at 8pm. Heybale follows, in case you sold your soul to mAcdonald and want to dance about it.