Years later Sleater-Kinney still has a lot to say

Paradise Rock Club, Boston, March 17, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Thirty years on, Sleater-Kinney shows no signs of slowing down.

The group is Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (drummer Janet Weiss left in 2019) with several backing musicians touring behind their 11th studio album, "Little Rope," released in January. While some pigeon-hole Sleater-Kinney as more of an indie rock band, live, they were more punky than that. And indie though they may be, a few songs even bordered on the more commercial side.

Looks can be deceiving though. Brownstein doesn't come off like your typical lead guitarist. She looks more ready to spend a day at the office than churning out guitar licks. But in her understated way – there's no ego when it comes to Sleater-Kinney – an animated Brownstein provided just the right musical might throughout the 80-minute show.

Tucker and Brownstein took turns at lead vocals with Tucker more intense by a hair, and Brownstein a bit more of a pretty voice with her delivery.

While Sleater-Kinney played songs from eight albums, "Little Rope" clearly was the focus, starting with "Hell" and "Needlessly Wild." With an intensity from start to finish, there was a lot to like about the new material.

With Sleater-Kinney, it was the sum of the parts that was the underbelly of the show. Yes, the final two encore songs of "Say It Like You Mean It" and "Digging Out" may have been among the best of the night (nice way to climax the show), but the songs and pacing stood out. So did their stellar lighting show with lots of sharp, bright colors (particularly reds and greens) on the backing screen, which gave the concert even more energy.

Time may march on, and Sleater-Kinney still has a lot to say.

Black Belt Eagle Scout opened the show with a complimentary set that was more on the indie rock side of the musical spectrum. The group is in reality Katherine Paul, a queer Snohomish Native American from Washington.

Paul has a feathery voice that makes you want to listen. The subject matter wasn't always easy with her background figuring prominently. The lead-off "My Blood Runs Through This Land' made that clear as does the closing "Soft Stud," which Paul described as being by a "queer, Indigenous (person) growing up on the reservation." Black Belt Eagle Scout was comfortable in her own skin and wasn't afraid to show it.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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