Mission of Burma
January 12, 2007
Double Door
Chicago, IL

By: Andrew Lyman

If a reunion is more prolific than the original, do you then have to re-consider which iteration is more true? I struggled with this existential quandary the other night at the Double Door while one of my favorite bands of all time, Mission of Burma, convulsed through two sets and three encores.

Are they better now? Are they the same? Have they picked up right where they left off? I have no clue. Burma is phenomenal. They can’t be written off as a re-hash or simple nostalgia. They certainly couldn’t be dismissed as tired or old. They somehow sound every bit as timeless as they did back in the early 1980s. They are better and more genuine than any new group of youngsters that answers to “post-punk” or even “indie rock” these days. Burma simultaneously exists both as the grandfathers and the progenitors of the form. They still sound like they are about to burst into flame. The musical energy of this band is commanding and unparalleled. The energy of their followers conversely, is suspect, but it matters not at this point.

The question that remains to be answered is if Mission of Burma is better now than they ever were? Are they merely paying tribute to something that was once great? Given their last two albums and their energy on stage, certainly not. Should I still desire to travel back in time to see them in 1984? Or should I be happy to be part of something that may turn out to be even better?

Let the past be the past. Study history. Hold on to your old records. Play them till they won’t play any more and then replace them, but be amazed at today because soon you’ll be remembering it, too, and it would be a shame to only have retrograde knowledge of the times you’ve lived through. As for the future, Burma played their first song of the New Year. The future, at least for Mission of Burma, sounds promising.




All opinions expressed by Andrew Lyman are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.