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The return of the Rentals (redux)
Matt Sharp isn't one for stage fright.
But when he took the stage with his band The Rentals for a small group of shows in 2006, there were moments he found himself struggling to breathe.
The response was that overwhelming.
"I was shocked to say the least. Every song became a sing-along."
Sharp found himself stopping mid-concert to take it all in.
In August, the seven-member band (that's Sharp, and Rachel Haden, Sara Radle, Ben Pringle, Lauren Chipman, and Dan Joeright) hopes to relive those moments as it hits the road again, headlining a 40-city cross-country tour.
Before that, they're playing a set of warm-up dates (including tonight's show at the Belmont. Editor's note: The Belmont is located just west of Belmont and Blackstone avenues. Look for Richard's Steakhouse. Tickets are $18), and Saturday-night residency at LA's indie hot-spot Spaceland through July.
The tour coincides with the release of "The Last Little Life," E.P., the group's first new material since 1999's "Seven More Minutes."
The four-song E.P. came out of writing and rehearsing sessions for the band's anticipated third album. Three of the songs were mixed by friend and producer/engineer Joe Chiccarelli, who's worked with the likes of The Shins and White Stripes. It was a natural fit, Sharpe says. "He had just done some great records," Sharp says. "And we hadn't worked together."
Not that the songs were ever meant to be heard. These were home recordings, Sharpe says, just the band doing what bands do, learning to play together and figuring out where they want to go musically.
But technology being what it is (and fans being the craft buggers they are) the band knew the songs would be released one way or another. "That's just the place we live in now."
The warm-up shows are just that, a chance for the band, all seven of them (and their seven synths, a piano violin, trombone, drums and various guitars) to get a feel for being on stage and playing the songs live.
Forget the stoicism of the "Friends of P," video, Sharp says. This is a high-energy affair — with members quite literally playing musical chairs. Sharp even gets back on bass for "I Just Through Out the Love of My Dream," which featured (That Dog's) Harden on vocals.
It's one of his favorites.
For some, it's a fan-favorite too. Because, yes, Sharp played for Weezer, and fans have a deep connection to those first albums, Sharp says. "We realize those people are there," he says. "There's always going to be that connection. And I embrace that."