8:07 pm - Fri, Dec 20, 2013

The Breeders – Webster Hall – Thu 19-Dec-2013

It’s an interesting coincidence that the next two gigs in my calendar were The Breeders and then in New Year (itself a Breeders song title of course) the latest incarnation of the Pixies. And how even more intriguing that the leader of the former used to be the bass player – now the problem position – in the latter. How delicious. The intertwining comparisons don’t end there, more of which later.

I have seen the Breeders twice in 2013 already, all of which were ‘Last Splash’ gigs, this being the 20th year of the sophomore album release and one the band have busily been promoting all over the world since the Spring. I already had the ticket for this date in hand, when via Twitter we learned that on the last few dates the band would be playing their debut album: ‘Pod’ as well. Are you kidding me? Not just one seminal 90’s indie album but two? Deal twins: you are spoiling us. When I got to the venue to take in the support band, I was alarmed at how empty the place was? Were New York’s indie cognoscenti really ignoring the mighty Breeders? Had they all decided to go to the next night instead? No, as per usual New York’s indie cognoscenti prefer to turn up just as proceedings are beginning, many of them missing Speedy Ortiz do their stuff. By the time the Deal twins, bass player Josephine Wiggs, drummer Jim Macpherson and violin player/percussionist Carrie Bradley walked on stage a respectable audience was waiting expectantly. And then the opening chords to ‘New Year’ ripped in and we were away into ‘Last Splash’. Due to the album order, it is amusing to me that the song many are waiting for – ‘Cannonball’, of course – is blown through as the second number of the night.

To me, the greatest thing about The Breeders is how unpretentious they are: they genuinely appear to enjoy playing live, with both Deal twins laughing and smiling their way throughout the performance, often at little misplaced notes or suchlike. Both sisters, particularly Kelley, appear to grapple with their guitars as if novice musicians (and Kim is most certainly not, and nor is Kelley despite taking a crash course in guitar back in the day) yet both make the astonishing sounds as on their albums. They also have this uncanny ability to sing ever so slightly out of time, as per the original material too. The Deal tones are, however, unmistakable. I was entranced mostly by Kelley, to right of stage, as she grinned her way throughout the whole gig. Josephine, the English bass player, stood in the most advanced position with Kim to her left. Once again before you could catch your breath the album had been played and the band left the stage.

When they came back on – for the encore – Kim remarked that they were going to play ‘Pod’ in its entirety ‘because it only lasts half an hour’ or words to that effect. Everything about ‘Pod’ is absolutely sonically spot on: short crisp tight songs, with Steve Albini’s famous taut production. No wonder Pixiesboss Black Francis was supposedly threatened by Ms. Deal and her song writing abilities. Check out the end of ‘When I Was a Painter’ for a perfect example. Again, the band shot through one of Kurt Cobain’s all time favourite albums at breakneck speed. The previous night in Boston, original ‘Pod’ era member Tanya Donnelly had joined the band. I think I might have fainted if she appeared last night, but it was not to be, Ms. Donnelly tweeting good luck to Kelley earlier in the day. In any case the complete run through of the album was superb. Stand out tracks for me were aforementioned ‘When I Was a Painter’, ‘Iris’, ‘Opened’ and album closer ‘Metal Man’. But basically every track was awesome, who am I kidding. With that there was time for one more encore with a new song (and inexplicably from the crowd, balloons) and they were gone. Barely 90 minutes and two of the greatest albums ever recorded played back to back.

Here is ‘Iris’ from last night

Which brings me back to my earlier juxtaposition of The Breeders and Pixies in my gig itinerary: I have no doubt I will enjoy the latest incarnation of the later when I see them next month, but something about the removal of the last bass player and Black Francis’ boorish insistence that it is no big deal smacks of dysfunction and arrogance; the Breeders on the other hand look and sound like they are having a ball. I’ll enjoy the Pixies, but I doubt I will enjoy them as much as last night.

Sticky Carpets US gives the now teetotal Breeders 10 pints out of 10.

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6:05 am - Sat, Jun 23, 2012

CUD performing I’ve Had It With Blondes at The Leadmill Sheffield 2012


Gutted I couldn’t be in the UK for this. #SCNY

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5:40 am

The Wedding Present. “Back a Bit… Stop” 30.05.12 Els Concerts del Cabaret Elèctric

Not so much an acoustic radio session, as minus drum and bass. Quality as ever.

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1:15 pm - Sat, Jun 9, 2012

Chromatics a surprise alternative to Neon Indian

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12:55 pm
1 note
Neon Indian - Village Underground.

Neon Indian - Village Underground.

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12:50 pm
2 notes
Neon Indian - Village Underground

Neon Indian - Village Underground

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12:14 pm
1 note

Neon Indian - Village Underground, Shoreditch. 6/6/12

Does Philip Green spell the death for Electro?

As I reflect on the Neon Indian gig I’m left with one persistent question.Has the man that gave the world two t shirts for a tenner finally moved into the world of music? Neon Indian certainly shop in his stores and the lead singer clearly thinks he’s a teenage girl in the way he holds the Mic as if its his hairbrush.

Neon Indian played some tracks from Era Extrana which is definitely worth listening to but they aren’t a band that can back it up live. The fact that Village Underground was full when the fantastic support act Chromatics were on compared to when Neon Indian played their encore the room was empty. This spoke volumes for their ability to perform live.

For me personally it came down to the lead singer Alan Palomo being a weak front man who’s far too narcissistic. His annoying habit of flicking his head with a bizarre near metronomic regularity along with his over the top Mic holding style. A style which was not very well connected to the mood of the song. It would be like dancing trance to the Dirty Dancing sound track; it just didn’t fit.

Aside from the overall ‘showmanship’ the sound was laboured and save for the odd moment there was little really to get excited about across their entire mid week set. It seemed the only real connection between group and audience was located in small pockets of drunken teenage Saturday girls dressed almost exclusively in Green’s finest apparel.

The high point and real bonus of the evening was the delicious sensory overload that are Chromatics. Despite their billing as ‘support’ the crowd were treated to a group brimming with confidence and a sack full of great tunes that undoubtedly sees them set on a solid upward trajectory.

Instantly mesmeric, Chromatics, from the very first beat took those of us lucky enough to have chanced upon them on a sonic journey through a trancing electro landscape littered with epic cannons, vast parries and teasing sound scapes.. A journey that was a truly great live experience.

Sticky Carpets rates Chromatic a very solid seven and a half pints out of ten. Killer sound!

Sadly with Neon Indian the team at Sticky Carpets thought little point in telling anything other then the truth which saw them peek at a generous three pints of shandy out of ten.

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1:20 pm - Sat, May 26, 2012

The Horrors @ Brixton 25 May 2012

On exiting the gig leaving early an enthusiastic camera man / reviewer asked for my opinion of the gig. I said it how it was: really shit. Bands have to learn how to set up their sound for the venue they’re playing in and The Horrors let themselves down massively.

A relatively large crowd started to disappear in a steady stream of disappointment. There was little reason in hanging around. We left. I’ll have to be satisfied with listening to Skying not knowing which tracks they actually played last night.

As A Simpson said “I go to a lot of gigs and you want to like them all but you know if you think a gig is shit its because it probably is” and that gig was.

Anyway it turns out the enthusiastic reviewer was a mate of the band and when A Simpson wanted to give his opinion the reviewer refused to take it!

Stickycarpets rates this gig 0 pints out of 10 - it was as exciting as mineral water

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1:14 pm

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5:47 am - Thu, May 24, 2012

One of the greatest songs ever written: Hüsker Dü - Green Eyes

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