In retrospect, Sleater-Kinney's final show-- at Portland's majestic Crystal Ballroom, where stage lights cast the band in giant hazy shadows on the wall behind them-- emphasized exactly how many of their lyrics were, in fact, about breaking up, leaving, and saying good-bye, a not unlikely foundation for a band comprised of a former couple (Tucker and guitarist/singer Carrie Brownstein dated for a time). The fulcrum lyric of their opening song, "The Fox", had Tucker screaming, "THERE'S NO LOOKING BACK!" and there wasn't: They weren't retrospective or nostalgic, picking most of their set from more recent albums The Woods, One Beat, and The Hot Rock and sparing selections from career-kickstarting records Dig Me Out and Call the Doctor. Though they played as meticulously and as passionately as ever-- call it the high of the runner's last lap-- it would have felt like any other show, were it not for the psychic weight. As they barreled toward the end, their squalls gaping, chasmal, somewhere between the atonal grind of "Night Light" and the downturned yearning of "Stay Where You Are", the show's mood deepened with its finality. The tumult of chords expanded. Energy converted to discomfort. When Brownstein began murmuring the soft melody of "Modern Girl", there was a bit of sour dread in the air. They had sandwiched a handful of tensely minor-keyed songs into their setlist-- "Not What You Want", then "Steep Air", then "God Is a Number"-- maybe on purpose? You don't choose the setlist of your last show lightly.
Monday, August 28, 2006
One Beat (too many)
It sucks that Sleater-Kinney broke up, not just because they were very, very good, but because I missed the chance to see them at last year's Big Day Out festival. Pitchfork says goodbye:
Posted by Origen at 8:49 PM