Sleater-Kinney - Koko, Friday 2nd September
The twittering bird song of Sleater-Kinney's intro tape is the last time you'll hear anything pastoral in Koko tonight. There's a few moments warming up and then Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein (guitars) and Janet Weiss (drums) crash straight in to The Fox, minus the split second of feedback that made it the greatest opening to one of our favourite albums of the year.
It's this Londonista's first time to have the pleasure of Sleater-Kinney's company of an evening and in no uncertain terms we will be back. Corin and Carrie provide the blistering dual guitar attack, Carrie swinging her old Gibson around, posessed by the spirit of Angus Young, whilst Corin, who takes the lioness's share of the vocals, lays down a barrage of rhythm lines. Yet the lines remain blurred as they trade crashing waves of crunching distorted noise and harsh cutting vocal lines like identical twins. Behind them there's a flash of waving hair and a thundering noise that the Norse Gods dance to. We're thinking that Janet's furry shoulder accessories could well have been ripped from the rampaging mythical devil beast she brought down before the show. Imagine an all girl Dinosaur Jr with movement and you won't be far off the sheer wall of power that punches it's way through the crowd.
The bulk of tonight's set is drawn from The Woods, with only the jaunty Modern Girl providing a release from the sheer force of teen suicide tale, Jumpers, or the spitting venom of Entertain and a lengthy grunge-fuzz rock workout during Let's Call It Love. The older numbers: One More Hour, Dig Me Out, Heart Factory highlight the rawness of their current album against their power-pop punkier early days, and yet still fit right in. It's satisfying to hear the sound of a band continuing to explore and progress without ever losing the dynamic that drove them in the first place. Long may it last.
Pic by Sizemore