I had been concerned all week that the topsy turvy weather we had experienced might throw a spanner in the works, regarding my plans to travel across the Berkshires on Thursday to see one of my “childhood” faves, Big Dipper kick off their album release tour at the Iron Horse Music Hall. But my fears were unfounded, the trip across the Pike was smooth and I was at the club before the doors opened. Once enscounced in my new favorite spot, I got to watch the “opening” act, Chris Collingswood (who you may know as one half of Fountains of Wayne) and his pickup band the Shinolas soundcheck, as I sipped a Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, (not terrible). Got word that I would be joined by fellow “Dipheads”, Dawn and Pam, who arrived shortly there after with another old friend Chuck. Just after 7pm, Chris and crew took the stage and launched into a short set of FOY tunes, including “Dip in the Ocean” and “Cemetary Guns” from the latest Sky Full of Holes, “Valley Winter Song” from “Welcome Interstate Managers”, and best of all “Radiation Vibe” from their debut. The pickup band complemented the songs well and Chris seemed to relish returning to his roots, remarking at one point that he used to see Big Dipper a lot back when he was living in Boston and was looking forward to touring with them this week and next. Finished the set with a new song from an upcoming solo project that sounds promising. And then it was time for the headliners….Big Dipper hit the stage with a purpose and that quickly seemed to be to blow us through the back wall of the club. They were proud and really fucking loud! Too loud to this geezers ears, which was too bad, cause they had all the great songs in their kit bag, from “All Going Out Together” to “Younger Bums”, with several of the new albums tunes sprinkled in as well, more than holding their own with the back catalog, particularly “Hurricane Bill”, “Robert Pollard” and “New Machine”. And they were having a ball on stage too, goofy and geeky and self deprecating all at the same time. The downstairs was pretty much full, which after seeing Kelly Hogan perform an amazing set to just a handful of us, was great to see. So after a couple of encores, the guys stumbled offstage and greeted their fans, signing copies of the new album (blue vinyl baby) and soaking up the love. Great to see these kinds of reunions succeed, since so few do….if they come near your neighborhood, or even is you have to drive a piece like us, catch the Big Dipper show!