SLIDESHOW: Mike Watt at The Union

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Punk legend Mike Watt made his Athens, Ohio, debut last night, playing to an impressive Monday audience at The Union Bar and Grill.

The former Minutemen/fIREHOSE bassist and current member of The Stooges was aided by guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Raul Morales (aka The Missingmen) for an hour-plus set that featured Watt's third "punk opera," Hyphenated-Man.

The dynamic 30-song piece was performed in its entirety, ranging from manic snycopated jazz and soft interludes to punishing riff-heavy punk.

During one section, the band came to a stop, leaving only a quiet spoken-word whisper from Watt. It was the proverbial "hear a pin drop" moment, with a dead-silent Union crowd hanging on his every word.

Following Hyphenated-Man, the band encored with covers of groups that influenced Watt during his early years, including tunes by Jimi Hendrix, The Pop Group and Wire.

As the final notes of the Minutemen's "D.'s Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo" faded, Watt yelled out "Start your own band!" He then thanked the audience and said that he would return to Athens.

Mike Watt and The Missingmen's "2nd Heapin' Helpin' of 3rd Opera Tour 2012" continues through Nov. 10. Visit www.hootpage.com for more information.