Last week I traveled almost 500 miles to see Sleater-Kinney. This was my first time ever seeing them live. It was well worth the trip.
Sleater-Kinney is an amazing Rock band consisting of Carrie Brownstein (guitarist/vocalist), Corrin Tucker (guitarist/vocalist) & Janet Weiss (drummer). They were part of the feminist movement in the 90s and quickly became a key part of the Riot Grrrl scene. Sleater-Kinney released 7 studio albums between 1994 and 2005 before going on a decade long hiatus. They’re back with a vengeance with their newly released album, “No Cities To Love” which they are currently touring on. This album is classic Sleater-Kinney with just as much confrontation, agitation and frustration with the world. Now a little more evolved with the change in our culture. More empathy for all kinds of people. Sounding a little more mature and clean. Sleater-Kinney has always been the type of band to make the powerless feel powerful and “No Cities to Love” continues in that fashion by describing the struggles of the working class family.
We found out about the signing at the local record store in at Atlanta during our drive up on 4/20. It’s a miserable 7 plus hour drive for me. But luckily and not so lucky for me, I got my license suspended in Georgia a few years ago when driving up for the Music Midtown festival. I got hit with a $300 speeding ticket and a month later got a letter in the mail saying I owed another $200 for some speeders fee. So I said “fuck that, I’ll just never drive in Georgia again.” I quickly regretted this decision because we now travel up to Atlanta for shows way more often than I thought we would. The lucky part for me, I drive through north Florida and my lucky boyfriend Adam and friends get to drive the rest of the way and the whole time we stay in Atlanta. We planned ahead for spending our 4/20 in the car. I rolled a couple of joints, packed the party box and brought some tape to cover the mysterious camera looking lens stationed behind the “no smoking” signs in the rental car. I’ve had better 420’s, but the news about a signing really excited us. The Criminal Records Facebook stated that Sleater-Kinney would only be there from 3-4 PM and anyone coming late would not be allowed in. The girls had to make this quick because they had to be at the Tabernacle for sound check shortly after. We planned ahead and got there an hour early. We were quickly informed that only records could be signed. No posters, Portlandia materials and no personal photos. So pretty much, sign and go. This was a bummer because I would have really loved a personal picture and a short conversation with them. Not as many people showed up for the signing as I expected so the line went by fast and was pretty much dead by 3:30pm. Adam jumped in line a second time to see if he could sneak an autograph by Janet Weiss on his “Drumgasm” record and succeeded. All of the Sleater-Kinney girls were super adorable and friendly and I wanted to give them all hugs. We left the record store feeling like we succeeded and stoked about the show starting in a few hours.
The Tabernacle was packed to the brim on a Tuesday night and we managed to get to a great spot a few rows of people from the stage. I had never been to The Tabernacle before and I quickly decided I was in love with the venue. I am a huge fan of more intimate venues and I remember from an interview that I recently watched with Sleater-Kinney and the girls from Broad City, that Sleater-Kinney was also a fan of smaller venues. Wise talks about how they don’t play festivals, that they’re just not those kinds of people and I love that. A huge fan of any band should not be happy with a festival performance. The band could play and sound amazing but at the end of the day you most likely heard all of the hits, the set was short and the people you were surrounded by probably didn’t even known the band at all. Oh, and you were probably outside or in a giant stadium. No thank you. I still go to my share of festivals but most times I would rather wait and hope that a band I want to see is coming back on their own.
Check out that Sleater-Kinney/ Broad City interview here, It’s worth watching:
Sleater-Kinney really put on an amazing show. Brownstein and Tucker’s vocals sounded so great and complemented each other so well that it was hard to believe it had been almost a decade since they last played together. Weiss is one of the greatest rock drummers I have ever seen. Her sound really lays the groundwork of the band and pulls the guitars and vocals together perfectly. Brownstein put on a great performance, like a true rock start heroine. She’s a master with her guitar and doesn’t hide it. At one point she stood atop Weiss’ drum-set and held her guitar high above her head. At one point I even saw a little Michael Jackson style moonwalk going on. Check out my clip of “Turn It On” for some Brownstein moonwalk.
The set list was flawless. Playing all but two songs off of “No Cities to Love” , five songs off of “The Woods” and at least one or two songs off of every other album. They’ve done an amazing job at mixing it up from City to City for those who like to cheat and see what they’re going to get by setlist.com-ing that shit before the show. I would have liked to see them play “Light Rail Cayote”, “Ironclad” & “Good Things” but then again I would have liked to hear every single one of their songs. They should do an Alkaline Trio “Past Live” style set of shows where they play 4 nights, 2 albums a night. They have the perfect number of albums for it! That would be amazing.
Check out the video I took for “New Wave”:
Notice at the 2:52 mark, the annoying drunk blond in front of me yells to her friend “I’m reliving every day in my room right now!” The ultimate fan girl.
If you haven’t seen this, shame on you! Its amazing! Bob’s Burgers is the best!
I couldn’t help but imagine the Belcher kids dancing along on stage when they played this song. 🙂
“I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” is one of my favorite songs. After watching the interview with the Broad City girls I can’t help but hear the squealing pig sound Carrie makes during the song. It doesn’t ruin the song for me at all, but I didn’t even notice it before I watched that interview and now it distracts me and makes me laugh every time I hear it. Carrie says that a friend asked her about the sound a little after that album was released. She says, “That’s just me expressing myself.” I love it because when they played that song live I noticed Carrie had a huge grin on her face every time that part came up in the song. Almost like she knew everyone watched that interview or discovered the pig squealing sound on their own.
Below is the last video I took for “Entertain” with a short drum solo by Weiss in the beginning.
I will leave you with that. If you haven’t seen Sleater-Kinney live yet, put it on your bucket list because it’s a must. They were amazing and you won’t be disappointed.