Hey Mike Watt fans: Bologna, Italy isn’t just where your grandma’s classic Sunday sauce comes from anymore. The largest capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region is also the origin of il sogno del marinaio, the punk legend’s latest artistic vessel. Guitarist Stefano Pilia had met the bass great while he was touring Europe behind his second opera, 2004’s The Secondman’s Middle Stand, and invited him to perform with drummer Andrea Belfi and himself at a festival in Cesana four years later.
Just as it was conveyed across their debut, last year’s la busta gailla, canto secondo is an excellent display of just how well versed Pilia and Belfi are in the history of Watt’s 35 years in performance. And their cognizance of the intricacies of the deepest aspects of the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime and fIREHOSE’s Ragin’, Full-On play well into Watt’s own genuine enjoyment of working with them. Compositions like “Animal Farm Tango”, “Nanos’ Waltz” and “Auslander” really capture the natural fluidity of this trio’s interplay, mostly recorded live in Pilia’s barn studio in Bologna. This band will be touring small rooms across the continental United States this fall. If you long to hear Mike Watt back in his indelible SST element, you’d be wise to get your tickets now.
– Ron Hart