(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Newly reunited Miracle Legion and Lou Barlow, of Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr, and the Folk Implosion fame, revive the sounds of late-20th century indie-rock to Club B10 at MASS MoCA on Saturday, April 8, at 8pm. Miracle Legion’s sublime jangly guitar-rock made them college radio stalwarts from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. The band, led by Mark Mulcahy, is often mentioned alongside R.E.M. for helping to define the sound of college rock in those decades, and was dubbed “the band Thom Yorke [of Radiohead] loved” by the Guardian.
Miracle Legion’s sublime jangly guitar-rock made them college radio stalwarts from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. The band, led by Mark Mulcahy, is often mentioned alongside R.E.M. for helping to define the sound of college rock in those decades. Lou Barlow, a native of Western Massachusetts, is credited with helping to create the lo-fi sound of indie-rock.
Hailing from New Haven, Conn., Miracle Legion was formed in 1983 by Mark Mulcahy and Ray Neal. Though often drawing comparisons to REM, the band’s raw and honest lyrical content brought them notoriety in the New England college rock scene, as well as in the UK.
The band dropped its debut EP “The Backyard” in 1984 on Rough Trade Records, followed by several other releases, before signing on with Morgan Creek Records.
Lou Barlow (photo Rachel Enneking)
The group’s audience shifted in the 1990s, when, performing under the name Polaris, they assumed the role as the house band for the Nickelodeon show “The Adventures of Pete & Pete.” The group released its first cassette as Polaris in 1995 titled “Happily Deranged.” The mini-album, released by Nickelodeon and Sony Wonder, contained the television show’s theme song, “Hey Sandy,” among others. Shortly after the show was canceled, Miracle Legion released their final album, titled “Portrait of a Damaged Family,” on Mulcahy’s own label, Mezzotint, and disbanded.
After two decades apart, the members of Miracle Legion reunited in 2012 to perform as Polaris at a reunion show for The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Putting an end to their run as a one-off project, Polaris released its second album in 2014, titled Great Big Happy Green Moonface.
Most recently, Miracle Legion reissued its final album, “Portrait of a Damaged Family,” for Record Store Day 2016. The nostalgia-inducing reunions were so well received that they sparked a tour over the summer of 2016 that found the band touring the US and UK and included a gig at the Green Man Festival in Wales.
The band’s success carries into 2017 with a tour that brings Miracle Legion to North Adams, right on the heels of its new live album, “Annulment,” out on April 7 via Mezzotint. Mark Mulcahy is no stranger to MASS MoCA audiences: he performed in 2007 in Club B10 and with Wilco’s Pat Sansone during the Solid Sound Festival in 2013.
Lickety Split, MASS MoCA’s café, serves up crisp salads, hearty soups, and lip-smacking pub fare. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Museum members are invited to have a post-concert beer with the band. Tickets are $12 for students, $18 advance, $24 day of, and $30 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making, displaying, and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA will nearly double its gallery space in May 2017, with artist partnerships that include Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and James Turrell.
Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under through May 21, 2017. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is seasonal and reopens on April 15. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA
Hours: 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays. Open Tuesday, April 18