Saturday Looks Good to Me discovered some live gems during lockdown
Back in April, Saturday Looks Good to Me singer/songwriter/guitarist Fred Thomas was using some of his quarantine lockdown time to explore piles of cassettes he had featuring all manner of music from his various projects.
"I found this cassette that simply said 'Mar 11 2005' and was amazed to discover it was a show from one of Saturday's dreamier configurations during our peak touring times," Thomas wrote on the Bandcamp page featuring the live recording now titled March 11, 2005 • Champaign.
The "dreamier" Saturday sound on this tour -- compared to its more typically rollicking indie rock -- happened because Thomas didn't remember that drummer Steve Middlekauff couldn't come along for the tour until the night before. But rather than try to rope in a percussionist at the last minute, the group switched gears and adapted to the drummerless tour on the fly.
Thomas kept digging through his tapes and located two more Saturday Looks Good to Me Shows, this time from 2007. While the group's roots are in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, by the time Saturday's fourth studio album, Fill Up the Room, came out, the band members were scattered across the country. So the group booked a mini Chicago residency at two clubs to celebrate the release of Fill Up the Room. Thomas writes in the notes for the newly released recordings October 13, 2007 • The Hideout and October 14, 2007 • Schuba's: "These two shows were by far the most preparation and practice that went into any Saturday live performances."
The intention was to professionally record both concerts and release a double LP picture disc. While the "shows went really well, and the band played as good as possibly ever," Thomas wrote, "but within a year the band stopped playing and the ambitious double live plan got abandoned while other things happened instead."
There's also fan-shot videos of the two Chicago concerts, so you can peek in at another time, another life for this talented group.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.
You can explore and buy other Saturday Looks Good to Me concerts and studio records on the group's Bandcamp page. Additionally, you can hear more of Fred Thomas' music both on his Bandcamp page and on the new one for his latest project, Idle Ray.