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The Breeders – Glasgow ABC

Some things in life never change. Kim and Kelley Deal bound on having spent approximately no time in wardrobe; Kim in particular appears to be wearing a hoodie lent to her by Frank Black. Nor has the ferocious energy of the band diminished. They still make a massive racket and they still sound like almost no-one else (one band, obviously, are the honourable exception.)

Let’s get the P-word out of the way early. Rumours abound that the band will make an album but Kim has no interest in doing it. In that case, it’s a Black Francis/Frank Black/Charles Thompson solo album with a better sales hook. And in that case, it will be as sadly inessential as most of his solo work. A recurring thought watching tonight is that the Deal girl’s solo work absolutely dwarfs that of her bandmate. She’s always had more about her than loudQUIETloud.

It’s an audience who were aged 15-30 when ‘Cannonball’ hit the indie discos, that’s for sure. It does make you wonder about the dispoasble cash of the early 90’s generation these days. There is no way in God’s Earth that in 1993 the Breeders would have filled a venue this size. And there’s something naggingly familiar about the magnificently skewed chord structures, fucked-up surf pop and bubblegum vocals assaulting our membranes tonight. Indeed, it reminds your writer a bit of Syd Barrett in that there is no artifice; these songs sound like these songs because that’s the way they come out of the writers id. You or I could sit down and try to copy it, but it just wouldn’t sound right – see Veruca Salt and Lush by way of example.

‘I hate when I go to see a band and they play all new songs. But when you are in a band, it’s the new songs you want to play. So we’re gonna meet in the middle!’ Deal announces, and she’s as good as her word. ‘Bang On’ from new album ‘Mountain Battles’ would make a great single, while the affecting, acoustic ‘Here No More’ is a Deal-girls only lament. ‘Cannonball’ still sounds like nothing else on Earth, and is received by the audience with a fervour bordering on a free bar announcement. A cover of ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’ is despatched, and they return for a spirited three-song encore culminating in a frenetic ‘German Studies’.

Gloriously happy and still that beguiling turn left of the dial, the Breeders remind you of the power of cool girls with guitars. It’s also time that Deal’s place in the history of alternative rock is recognised. She has always been and always will be a hell of a lot more than merely a member of an influential group.

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6 Responses

  1. I was at the gig as well – and that is a really great review. spot on!

  2. Glad you enjoyed both Cannonball!

    Must say, it being a Tuesday and £17 to get in, I wasn’t in the best mood for it. But credit to the band, thy were so enthusiastic it was hard not to get swept along.

  3. Do you like the new album?

  4. Tarik, I do. It’s not immediate, but a few listens and it begins to show it’s charms!

  5. Some good one-liners there dude! You’re some bunch of lucky bastards though getting three encores, including German Studies. Still feel a bit hard done by the shortness of their Dublin performance.

  6. Cheers mate.

    A few in our party were grumbing too, it was an hour and 10 minutes. I think it is a general trend now for bands to play shorter sets and I’m not sure it is a good one!

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