Live review

The Breeders
University, Manchester : 30.5.2002

The Breeders - Click to enlargeDespite various side projects (The Amps, The Kelley Deal 6000 etc.) it had been been nine years since The Breeders had last recorded, and the new album Title TK has met with mixed reviews. In addition, only the Deal sisters remain from the band that recorded Last Splash. I'm starting to wonder if coming to tonight's show was such a great idea . . .
    The first revelation of the night has got to be the Radar Bros. While I'd heard the name before, the music's new to me. Their studied playing and sublime songwriting embraces all the best bits from Mercury Rev and Deus and mixes them with a dash of Pavement. I'm seriously impressed, and the new album, And The Surrounding Mountains is high on my to-buy list.

The Breeders - Click to enlargeThe second revelation (like you hadn't guessed) is of course The Breeders. From the opening bars of No Aloha it's obvious that this is going to be one of those shows that don't come around that often, and as the delicate surf guitar segues into crunching punk chords we all start going potty down the front.
    The band's relaxed approach, combined with such quality material really does turn this into something special. Kim talks to the crowd while Kelley looks on, a Superking clamped between her teeth in a rictus grin. Of course the songs are all here; Roi, Flipside, a mid-set Cannonball (how's that for confidence?), I Just Wanna Get Along, Safari and a selection of tracks from Title TK which sound just as good as the old stuff.

The Breeders - Click to enlarge"Curfew's like 11?" A worried look briefly crosses Kim Deal's face when someone shouts back to her that it's a 10pm finish. "Curfew's 10? You're a fuckin' liar!" she grins.
    More tunes follow including an Amps track until Kelley asks the University crowd if anyone watches too much TV. A muted response prompts, "You all just read books, go to museums, sculpt and paint . . !" Well it might have been an improvised introduction, but the storming cover of Nerf Herder's Buffy The Vampire Slayer Theme more than makes up for it. There's no knowing irony here; they're just playing it because they want to.
    All too soon the strains of The Ramones' Blitzkrieg Bop get piped through the PA, signalling the end of of what is likely to be one of my best gigs of the year. Let's face it; it just doesn't get much better than this.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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