One song into his solo turn at Largo, Tommy Stinson had a confession to make: He’d left his set list at home, so for the rest of the evening, he was going to have to wing it. For some musicians, this could be a problem, but for Stinson, once bassist for the Replacements and currently cast in rock’s longest running soap opera — the making of Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” — it was a minor bump in the road, one he simply shrugged off to deliver an engaging, if somewhat unfocused, performance.
Nattily dressed in a dark suit and fedora, Stinson relied on his abundant charm as he ambled through an hourlong set of tunes that included new material, selections from the sadly unreleased final album with his band Perfect and, in keeping with a Replacements tradition, a few odd covers. The new tunes find Stinson uncharacteristically looking for the quiet corner at the party; one includes the melancholy romantic image of the moon as “just the light above our graves.”
Melodically, the new songs find a seam between “Another Side of Bob Dylan” and the latter Replacement albums, with older tunes such as “Miss Self Esteem” and “Seven Days” leaning toward the latter with their rollicking riffs. It will be interesting to hear how those songs bloom with a full band behind them; when joined onstage by a portmanteau band that included fellow Gunner Dizzy Reed and perfect drummer Gersh, the music found a loping grove.
Stinson’s choice of covers nodded to the Replacements, but it’s hard to complain about a singer who sound equally believable singing the Partridge Family’s “Come on Get Happy,” Loudon Wainwright’s “One Man Guy” and Big Star’s “Nighttime.”