Sunday 31 May 2009

The Breeders - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Glasgow 19 May 2009

While the band strap on guitars and reposition themselves in a somewhat uncomfortable manner, I almost expect lead singer Kim to announce that this is their first gig. Instead she mutters something about a drum, addressing their drummer, and between them they rather limply attempt to convey what they must consider the humourous story of buying a drum from a homeless man for $5.

This is hardly what you'd expect from the spin-off project of Kim Deal, a hero in the grunge world for playing bass in stadium-filling alternative rockers The Pixies, now struggling with issues like guitar-strap twisting and microphone positioning. The band have appeared on stage for their first of two performances at a packed-well-beyond-fire-safety-limits King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, with both equipment and crew borrowed from Scots indie daddies, Teenage Fanclub, and no support act. It will be a few songs into the set before the crowd grow accustomed to the erratic but none-the-less charismatic and adorable stage presence of the Deal sisters and their band, The Breeders.

The powerful bass and splashy drums get the sardine-packed venue dancing in the square foot of room they have each to move. The distorted vocals, guitar slide and new wave catchiness of 'Cannonball' definitely makes it a fan favourite. The otherworldly vocals on 'Safari' are a demonstration of the Deal sisters' musical imagination. The band also perform 'Tipp City', the one single released by Kim Deal's third musical project, The Amps. And of course there is a great response to the appearance of Kelley's violin to perform the halting call and response riff on 'Drivin' on 9' - gimmicky but pleasant.

Instead of the usual Set/Encore breakup, Kim requested a five minute break three quarters of the way through to "splash some water on my face". The band's casual 'living room' performance style made for a comfortable audience. Although critics may point out a lack of professionalism, showmanship, technical skill and overall tightness of the band, there was definitely a lovable relatability to the group as they made friendly but meaningless observations to the audience and to each other, reminiscent of parents at their children's high school "soccer game". The informality allowed for audience members to shout out their requests. Most of which were ignored, except for one man who added "please" and got his song played right away.
Myke Hall

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