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The Breeders Celebrate a Milestone

May 7th, 2013

The Breeders – Webster Hall – May 6, 2013


Kim Deal deserves more credit—much more. Between her years as the bassist of the Pixies and her follow-up career as the lead woman of the Breeders, she’s earned her spot on the short list of rock musicians who have changed the course of music for the better. The last time I saw her perform was for the Pixies’ reunion tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of Doolittle. I remember thinking then if Doolittle had been released that day, it would still have been incredibly well received. Fast-forward four years and I’m watching Deal perform again, this time with the Breeders in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their iconic album, Last Splash, and feeling exactly the same way about this LP. It sounds as fresh today as it must have in ’93. This is for two reasons: The obvious being that each album was way ahead of its time. The other being that the music world we live in today is built on a foundation laid in large part by these two albums. We’d have neither without Kim Deal. We owe her the world.

The best thing about concerts where an album is played in its entirety is that you already know what to expect. So last night at Webster Hall no one had to wait for the distorted opening or the drumstick taps to know “Cannonball” was about to barrel its way through the venue. The arrangement of an album works out as well live as it does etched in record grooves. “Do You Love Me Now?” fits in perfectly as a concert’s midpoint as it does as the LP’s halfway mark. With it’s brittle arrangement, the song’s sparse instrumentation seems there only to hold up Deal’s soft-spoken vocals. The crawling guitar riffs are there at first only as embellishment to her tender singing. And even having heard the song hundreds of times, when it explodes with Deal’s sudden delivery of the loud plea “Come back to me right now!” it still has the power to turn up hairs.

It was sad to hear the ending reprises of “Roi” knowing that the show was ending the same way as Last Splash, but the band came back out to play through a hefty seven-song encore that was long enough to feel like the second act of the show. The encore included a Guided By Voices cover (“Shocker in Gloomtown”), a Beatles cover (“Happiness Is a Warm Gun”) and some non-Last Splash Breeders favorites. So happy 20th birthday, Last Splash! Enough time has passed that it’s now OK to consider its legacy. And hopefully the world fully realizes how incredible of an album this is and that those who crafted it get their rightful place in rock history. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Stephanie F. Black | www.flickr.com/photos/blackfrances