Back in the yonder days of the mid-80s, when I was just getting into punk rock, Mission of Burma broke up. They were a Boston band and so local to me. I remember when they played their final show at the Bradford Hotel, but I hadn’t heard any of their records at that point. Within a year I was cursing myself for having missed that show. I eventually tracked down every LP and 7″ and even acquired some bootleg tapes of early live shows. There were a couple of posthumous records (one live, one studio) but it seemed they were gone forever. They had broken up because of guitarist Roger Miller’s tinnitus, you see, not because of rancor amongst the members.
Then last year something amazing happened: Mission of Burma got back together to play small number of shows. Ear protection has apparently improved so much over the past 20 years that Roger can once again play live. I caught their Seattle show at the Experience Music Project and it was amazing. I figured it was pretty much a one-time event though. However, they decided to stick around and record a new album. Groups that reunite after 20 years very rarely put out decent records, but once again Burma delivered with the OnOffOn LP. They are now touring to support the record, so I was able to see them again over the weekend. Fucking great show too. They played searing renditions of classics like Academy Fight Song, That’s When I Reach for My Revolver, and That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate, plus new songs like The Setup and Wounded World. Burma has also always had great taste in cover songs and they closed with two seminal American punk songs: Class War by the Dils (dedicated to the legacy of Ronnie Reagan) and Youth of America by the Wipers. I left the club totally jazzed up. I love that feeling.
So here’s a band I never thought I’d get to see and now I’ve seen them twice in a year. Sometimes, life is good.