Because It’s Fun

April 2nd, 2012

Wild Flag – Webster Hall – April 1, 2012

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

Wild Flag deserves two different introductions, depending on who you are. For older rock fans, the news here is that members Carrie Brownstein (formerly of Sleater-Kinney), Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney and Quasi), Mary Timony (Autoclave and Helium) and Rebecca Cole (the Minders) are all still kicking ass, perhaps even more so than any of them did in their previous bands. For younger fans and mere observers of pop culture, the headline here is that that chick from Portlandia (Brownstein) is one hell of a guitarist.

Playing almost entirely through their much-acclaimed 2011 self-titled debut, last night at Webster Hall, Wild Flag cranked out crisp performances of favorites “Short Version,” “Racehorse” and “Something Came Over Me,” as well as a few new songs. They closed with the single “Romance,” which, placed at the end of a set, can’t help but feel like a mission statement of sorts for the group, an ode to the romance of rock and roll.

Bands are driven for all sorts of reasons, with their motives usually apparent in the energy of their live performances. Wild Flag seems to be motivated by nothing more than having a ton of fun. It shows through their pure rock and roll swagger that’s impossible to fake. Why cover songs like the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” the Ramones’ “Do You Wanna Dance” and Fugazi’s “Margin Walker” in an encore? Because it’s fun, and they want to. It’s as simple as that. Why start a new band when you’ve already made your mark with other noteworthy groups in the past? It’s likely for the same reason. —Dan Rickershauser