Live In Paris
Sub Pop Records
Here is the official live document of the Sleater-Kinney reunion shows. If No Cities To Love was the hint that the band had something new to say then the shows in support proved they could effortlessly integrate the new material with the old, putting on a party for fans that had just arrived to the band as well as the day-one die-hards. I was lucky enough to catch the Auckland version, the one NZ date on that world tour and now we have the live album that works as fan-souvenir for anyone who attended and for all that missed out.
Live In Paris has the three-piece (augmented to a quartet for the live shows) in fine, hard-rocking form. Opener, Price Tag, kicks things off in a good way but it’s the next track, Oh!, that really signals the Sleater-Kinney thunder; by that I mean the dynamic, propulsive drum-energy of Janet Weiss. So very much the glue of/for the band.
Corin Tucker’s voice is amazing, Carrie Brownstein’s voice is more the quirk, herky-jerky riot grrl thing – an extra texture in the Sleater sound. Their guitars knit lines and wind themselves around one another just as Tucker and Brownstein face off in a series of adversarial dance-steps to mark their time on stage as the songs keep tumbling out. It’s all a dance, a locked-in, death-stare dance. And it’s all great – the old and the new material applauded equally, served up in the same way – full intensity – and those guitar lines dancing down each other’s spine as Weiss lays down the rock-solid groove.
Timed to arrive just after the series of global women’s marches, recorded in Paris – the scene of a crime against music in recent times – Sleater-Kinney’s live album is as political as it needs to be, as fearsome and ominous as you’d expect; it’s the sound of a band ready – hopefully – to record another set of studio songs. It’s proof this was never about nostalgia. There’s a vitality to the music and the way it’s served that transcends any notion of a smile-for-the-cameras reunion.