The Baseball Project
Codfish Hollow Barn — Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 8 p.m.
What are your plans for the night? If you didn’t immediately answer, “seeing rock n’ roll legends play in a barn,” then you answered incorrectly. The Baseball Project, featuring half the members of R.E.M., Dream Syndicate’s frontman, and the bassist for Robyn Hitchcock’s latest touring act, will be playing at Codfish Hollow Barn, just outside Maquoketa, as a part of their ever-excellent Barnstormers series. Milwaukee folk-rock act Hugh Bob and the Hustle will be opening.
The Baseball Project was formed after discussions between Steve Wynn (of The Dream Syndicate) and Scott McCaughey (of The Minus 5 and the Venus 3) during R.E.M.’s induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills lend their talents on guitar and bass, respectively, and considering R.E.M.’s dissolution in 2011, The Baseball Project is the next-best thing to seeing R.E.M. live.
But the appeal of The Baseball Project extends beyond mere hero worship — they’ve got some pretty amazing material, as well. Unsurprisingly, they plays songs about, well, baseball. Taking inspiration from the tall tales surrounding the game and it’s players, they’ve covered a huge number of thematic concerns over three albums, which is sort of mind-blowing considering their obvious constraint. The band’s two songwriters, Wynn and McCaughey, clearly understand the mythos of baseball as it relates to the mythos of rock n’ roll. As a result, their songs feel larger than life, as the pounding drums and ’90s nostalgia guitars propel stories about Ed Delahanty’s mysterious death and Ted Williams’ fragile ego.
All in all, it’s legendary rockers playing songs about legendary baseball players. What’s not to love? The show starts at 7 p.m. with a ticket price of $20.