The Breeeders / Screaming Females - Kings Theatre - 9/23/23
Review and photo by Sean Coulter
So, it’s been 30 years, we’re all a little grayer around the edges and it’s time to stop throwing our “hands in the air” and pretending “we just don’t care,” because in reality, the kids' college bill is in the mail. Thanks to the Breeders, though, we can jump in the DeLorean and time machine back to ‘93 for a night to kick it with Dayton's cool kids, old school style. It was a blast from the past to see them perform their breakout LP Last Splash from start to finish for a 50-plus minute bliss-filled mass of musical mayhem.
Kim and Kelley traded off leads and vocals as the JJ’s - Jim Mac and Josephine Wiggs - laid down a brick-solid foundation that paved the way to the band’s best release. It was rougher around the edges than the record, but as you know, this 50-year old critic likes it rough 'n' tumble, so it worked well. Sometimes the shit got sloppy and fun and that’s the warts and soundscapes that we love about the Deal sisters. They’re unapologetic in their professional and personal successes and failures, and alluded all night to the history that haunts them as well as make them one of the best bands from the Indie Rock revolution.
I’ve always thought the band was best when playing instrumentals and S.O.S. didn’t disappoint. Kim and Killey seemed to hit their stride on “Driving on 9” as their vocals warmed into a sugary sweet serum and felt fully flexible from then on out. I would’ve loved if J Mascis was in attendance for his cover of “Divine Hammer” on the recent Last Splash remastered bonus cut “Devine Mascis,” but hey, can’t have it all, ya know. Like a '67 Chevelle, the Breeders banged into gear for tune after tune and finally started flying when they started playing Side 2 and Kelly stepped up to sing on “I Just Want to Get Along.” After blowing through the rest of side 2, they killed the reprise of “Roi,” then said good night.
Of course they came back and played a shit ton of more songs and two encores, pumping out their best tunes from the rest of their discography, and Kim performed an absolutely killer “Gigantic,” before finally bowing out just before closing time at the Theater. It was great to see the band joking and enjoying each other again, reliving their youth and playing like they did when I caught them open for Nirvana at the Coliseum 30 years back.
New Brunswick's fave sons and daughter Screaming Females scorched the opening slot as only they can, eliciting Kelley to proclaim, “How do we follow them?” Mixing up a few of their more melodic material with their totally thrashy early cuts, the band brought Brooklyn’s cool kids to their feet for a few and purged their inner Jersey Devils for 45 minutes.
As always, my mind wandered to the “What If ?” game and the inner old man in me was thinking about another Jersey trio from ‘90s, Sexpod, who would’ve crushed as openers for the Deal kiddies and crew given the chance, especially as I had my “foot on the gas on the Westside Highway" on the way back to the ‘burbs.
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