LP: Sleater- Kinney by Sleater-Kinney
1995 Villa Villakula, 10″
Favorite Track: The Day I Went Away
This year was a year of concerts for me. When I found out that Sleater-Kinney was coming to Cincinnati, I freaked out. I was extremely jealous that they reunited and played shows in cities none of which I could attend. And then they added a second leg to the tour and sure enough Cincy (and Columbus and Indianapolis–curse having to work!) was on the list. I bought my tickets immediately.
For months, the ticket stub sat on my refrigerator taunting me. When December came with its El Nino heatwave, I started listening to all the albums I own. At work, I listened to the new album three times. By the third listen, I liked that album as much as their others. My mind was expanding the possibilities of how awesome this show was going to be.
It was packed. Waiting in line is not something I have had to do in a long time. I observed pointless graffiti written in Sharpie on the wall leading up to Bogart’s. Friends were texting me where I was. I promptly ordered a beer and regretted it immediately. It was tall and served in a squishy plastic cup. I am going to spill this all over myself as I dance I thought. Waxahatchee was already playing. They sounded ethereal, a dream floating throughout the concert hall searching for everyone to accept it as their own personal visionquest.
I bought a T-shirt on impulse. Sadly, the Bob Dylan concert I bought in 2007 is ripping. I bought a pretty shirt covered in foxes as a replacement.
Then I pushed my way through the front of the crowd where some of my friends were hanging out ready to scream their throats raw. The wait seemed almost unbearable. Plenty of girls screamed when a roadie got on stage, thinking the show was about to start. I asked BEETS what she thought the first song would be and she said, “Price Tag.” There was no hesitation in her voice. I suspect she used witch’s powers to understand things I never will be able to comprehend.
Then I saw Carrie, Corin and Janet on the stage. “Price Tag” indeed started the show followed by “Fangless”, my second to favorite song off the new album. I started jumping up and down, pumping my fist, but trying to not to block this 4’10 girl standing to my left. Sleater-Kinney sounded amazing. I really wanted to mosh but the crowd, although very into it, were almost in a reverential state of grace.
“Turn It On” was next and the place was filled with screams. I knew enough of the chorus to sing along. It was around this time that I was noticing just how damn good musicians they are. Janet’s drumming is incredible in technical precision but almost primal, a heartbeat. Corin’s voice was dynamic, intense, but soft when needed. Some of my favorite moments was when she cracked a smile and managed to sneak a hop or two before she was back at the microphone. Carrie Brownstein stole the show in my opinion. Maybe I have a weakness for David Lee Roth-like guitar antics. Carrie was high-kicking, doing this adorable foot shuffle, and holding up her guitar like it was a religious icon or a weapon. And she was smiling and digging the crowd the whole time.
“Light Rail Coyotes” and “No Cities to Love” were next. I thought “No Cities” would have elicited more singing and dancing. “Start Together” and “What’s Mine is Yours” had my legs already tired. I thought I could take a quick break but “A New Wave” sent the audience into ecstasy. The two girls next to me went berserk with singing and recording the song on their phones, a concert trend I do not like, but, honestly, I did not see it happening too much at this concert and, frankly, didn’t blame anyone wanting to capture the energy going on stage. After this concert, “A New Wave” became my favorite song off the new album. It sounds great live.
Then Corin announced the next song was for fans of All Hands on the Bad One. That album was the first full length of theirs I heard. “Was It a Lie?” started and, I will admit sadly, I did not immediately recognized it. But it has some of my personal favorite lyrics: “Was she coming straight for you / and do you have a camera for a face? / Was she your TV show / Was she your video / A woman’s pain never private, always seen.”
“Oh!” and “Surface Envy” were sonic joy. My feet were hurting a little bit by this point. BEETS was all over the place. People were enthralled. Sleater-Kinney was holding nothing back. “Wilderness”, “One Beat”, and “Bury Your Friends” thundered down upon us like the three women on stage had invoked the splitting of the heavens. Their magic was song, their songs magic.
“#1 Must Have” was another deep cut from their catalogue. And then they dropped the very first Sleater-Kinney song, a personal favorite of mine, “Words and Guitar”. I thrashed. I sang. Definitely a highlight song. It should be played on the radio more. “Entertain” and “Jumpers” ended the main act in fabulous but heavy fashion.
Of course, they were going to do an encore. But to do “The Fox”, “Call the Doctor” (from my favorite album of which I wish they did more songs but I was thrilled beyond my wildest dreams that they played this even though it sounded a little under rehearsed) “Dig Me Out” (now one of my favorites even more than it already was) and “Modern Girl” was cemented this concert as one of my all-time favorites.