This review originally ran in The Herald Newspaper (Scotland) on Friday March 27 2015.
You wait ten years for a punk-rock revolutionary, and then three come along at once.
A decade since Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss called time on Washington’s Sleater-Kinney, the alt-rock insurgents bounced back with a vengeance – first with a brilliant new album, No Cities To Love, and then with a world tour, which struck Glasgow like lightning on Wednesday night.
It’s 21 years since Brownstein (guitars, vocals) and Tucker (guitars, vocals) formed Sleater-Kinney. Their roots were in the femme-punk uprising of riot grrrl, whose DIY activism still makes waves, as evidenced by local feminista-pop collective TYCI: they threw the gig’s official after-party, collected donations for Women’s Aid, and bagged a righteous on-stage shout-out from Sleater-Kinney for their excellent endeavours.
The band’s incendiary set was enlivened by leaping, axe-duelling and rock theatrics, and loaded with fired-up favourites including 1997’s barbed grunge lullaby Little Babies (which they dedicated to Zayn Malik on the day of his fleeing One Direction), the snarling, sublime guitar-pop of 1999’s Start Together (camaraderie is their modus operandi), and a show-stopping rendition of 2005’s browbeaten and down (but not out) Modern Girl.
Their new tracks – each with words to live by – were particularly powerful live, and offered a vivid visual and physical manifestation of the trio’s unique dynamic: Brownstein and Tucker’s guitar and vocal interplay was thrilling on Price Tag (“I’ll choose sin till I leave”), powerhouse drummer Weiss’ fearless beats raised the roof on Bury Our Friends (“We’re wild and weary but we won’t give in”), and the trio unleashed A New Wave to adoration as they hollered, “Let’s destroy a room with this love”.
Let’s take on the world with it.
Sleater-Kinney interview: The Herald, February 2015
On Sleater-Kinney, Sacred Paws and Riot Grrrl: The List, January 2015