Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sleater-Kinney, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, 2-May-2006

When I saw that the opening act was a comedienne I thought that this meant the show was going to be more radical than I expected. The audience was more than half female. There were a lot of school age kids. Tee-shirts seemed to be available only in small sizes. Alas, despite these signs of the apocalypse the band still started well after my regular bedtime. But I was glad I stayed up. Sleater-Kinney rock hard. They are not formal innovators, they are just a great rock band. Who happen to be all women. They like being in San Francisco and they like playing. I hadn’t realized that Carrie Brownstein is such an amazing guitarist. And I had no idea that she is a guitar hero, she looked great in a sleeveless shirt, somewhat like Chrissie Hynde. She has all the moves that any air guitar player could love: she struts, she kicks, she plays the guitar above her head. I knew from their records that Corin Tucker has a special voice but it was a pleasure to hear it filling a hall. It doesn’t get wearing either, I could listen to her all day. I was surprised that I wasn’t more impressed by Janet Weiss. Every great band has a great drummer and Sleater-Kinney is no exception. And I am impressed by any drummer who can hit as hard as Janet and still sing and play harmonica. Was I somehow expecting John Bonham? I liked the way that Carrie and Corin get by with only a couple of guitars each. There was no sign of guitar techs although Janet did seem to need the assistance of an earring wrangler at one point. I jumped around in a foolish manner. Another good gig, why did I ever stop going? I think the secrets are: don’t go to too many gigs (keep it special), only go to see bands I know I really like (which means not going to see the hippest new UK bands), don’t stay out too late.

1 comment:

  1. Sleater-Kinney rock, obviously, especially live. I do think though that going to see random gigs can sometimes be instructive, and there are many acts who are better live than they are on record and so should be experienced in that context.