The riot grrrls are back! Sleater Kinney played to a sold out crowd at The House of Blues a few days before Halloween. They did not disappoint this fan, and rocked a set that was a mix of songs from past albums and the newest, The Center Won’t Hold.
I first saw the band at a tiny punk club off of Burnside Street in Portland, Oregon in the late 1990s, and I became a fan. Loud, fast and unapologetically angry, their songs reached a part of me that I couldn’t express as a young professional. They defied traditional music business conventions – their songs were not played on commercial radio, tickets to shows were $10, and they played venues that allowed for all ages shows. Now, prices are higher, but this show was still all ages and I saw a range of ages (from over 50 folks like me to young teens).
From my 4th row spot, I could see that original band members Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker still enjoy singing and rocking out together. Songs that stood out included a very fast version of “Light Rail Coyote,” the band’s love song for the City of Portland; the angst and off beat drumming of “Youth Decay;” the distorted folk tale “Fox” and the final song of the second encore “Dig Me Out,” where Brownstein finished the song on the floor and on her back.
I bought tickets to this show before reading that drummer Janet Weiss had left the band. Weiss is a huge talent, who added a third dimension to the band’s sound with her syncopated sound. I was pleased that replacement drummer Angie Boylan kept the driving beat going throughout the show.
The band showed its Halloween spirit as a friendly skeleton joined them at the back of the stage for the show. I hope we’re in for more treats from this band whose politics, commitment to making music accessible to all, and pure talent have continued over 25 years.