Elliott Smith has gained a reputation largely as a heartbreak musician, the type of artist you put on when you need an acoustic guitar to make you gently weep. But the late singer-songwriter had one hell of a playful streak in him, as well, and new evidence of that has just surfaced.
In 1994, back when he was still a member of Heatmiser, Smith joined fellow Portland musicians Sam Coomes of Quasi, Sprinkler’s Nate Slusarenko, Sean Croghan of Crackerbash, and Guided by Voices’ Chris Slusarenko in a one-off Devo tribute band. Their performance at La Luna came as part of a talent show-turned-benefit concert for the then-just closed X-Ray Cafe. Dressed in radiation suits and wearing 3D glasses, the group performed tracks like “Uncontrollable Urge”, “Blockhead”, and “Freedom of Choice”. There was even a costume change in the middle of the 20-minute set.
Once thought lost to the ether of musical lore, Slusarenko recently came across footage from the concert and uploaded it to the YouTube account of his new band, Eyelids (via A.V. Club). The description says Smith portrayed “Bob 1”, and he can be seen standing stage left with the center parted black hair. Check out the video above.