This past weekend, the Replacements played Riot Fest in Chicago, the city that hosted what had been their 1991 final performance before their reunion this year. Their sets at Riot Fest in Toronto, Denver and Chicago have been a triumphant return for a band that fame eluded in their heyday. Despite Paul Westerberg's sharp songwriting, the band was always hamstrung by their brilliant but erratic live shows. They could be on fire, or they could be drunk and useless. While Nirvana capitalized on their aesthetic, the Minneapolis quartet, nicknamed the 'Mats, may have been ahead of their time but also had themselves to blame for not finding greater success. The best example of their deliberately avoiding hitting the big time is their video for Bastards of Young, a single shot of stereo speaker playing the song in a living room.
Want to know why the 'Mats matter? Of course the library can help.
CDs, particularly Let It Be (CD 11559), their creative peak. Dive further with the book Let It Be (ML421.R47 M45 2004) by Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, part of the 33 1/3 book series that offers in-depth analysis of a single classic album.
To understand the phenomenon, watch Color Me Obsessed: A Film about the Replacements (DVD 5597-5598). The documentary is notable because it relies only on the band's fans to describe them and contains no actual recordings of the group. Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History (ML421 .R47 W35 2007) incorporates a wider range of voices to tell their story.