Better late than never....
I mentioned at one point last week how I would have photographs and a more thorough review of the Sleater-Kinney/Dead Meadow gig from last Thursday at Roseland...well, here ya go. Suffice it to say, the Dead Meadow photos came out nicer because I wasn't constantly being shoved or jumped in front of during their set. The latter is an excellent band that puts on a great live show, provided a late 60's psych-rock revival is your thing. Endless wah-wah infused solos, deep Billy Cox-like bass playing, and appropriate smoke machines. The guitarist is one of the skinniest guys on the planet, but he can play the hell out of his axe. While Dead Meadow is more than capable of writing actual 'songs' (and does so rather well on their latest album Feathers), their live show is more or less just an excuse to jam out; and it's relatively easy to lose yourself in their wall of sound. Here's hoping they get another NYC headlining gig sooner than later. The stage is the best place to witness them, and I'm glad Sleater-Kinney elected to take them out on tour.
As for the Sleater themselves....while the New Year's Eve and Mercury Lounge shows found the band playing the new material relatively by the book, it seems as if they're finally comfortable enough with the new songs to goose them with that extra pizazz that allows them to obliterate the studio versions (no small feat that). "What's Mine is Yours" in particular has developed into a showstopper; featuring an extended noise introduction, a wonderfully self-indulgent Carrie solo break, and enticing hand gestures from Corin during her verses. Both "Rollercoaster" and "Jumpers" were fantastic, and the "Let's Call it Love" jam was far from the litany of "amateur stoner rock cliches" as one blog elected to describe it, but rather a fiery display of twin-guitar interplay that led seamlessly into "Entertain," surprising anyone (and everyone) expecting to hear "Nightlight", which was sadly unplayed (who wouldn't have rather heard this than "Steep Air"?). Sleater's take on jamming actually struck me as somewhat similar to what the Violent Femmes did on the live versions of "Kiss Off" and "Add it Up" found the latter's Add it Up compilation....chaotic with generous amounts of feedback and soloing, but never quite straying from the groove, and never quite flailing off into nothingness a'la bad Phish.
While the set didn't exactly falter when the band elected to play older material, it was clearly apparent that something was missing. Part of this could stem from the fact that they're unquestionably playing with a different set of equipment/pedals this time out, and they haven't quite figured out yet how to make the older tunes work on their new rigs. Then there's the simple fact that an older grrrllll-punk song like "One More Hour" just sounds a little tinny and out of place in a set populated by fuzz behemoths like "Wilderness" and "What's Mine is Yours." The breaks in "Light Rail Coyote" actually sounded muffled; which could be a result of crappy Roseland acoustics, new equpiment, or my failing ears (and probably all three), and while the performance of "Sympathy" may have been the best played version of that song I've heard, pace-wise, it doesn't really work smack in the middle of the set (and play something off The Hot Rock next time, Please?).
Overall though, minimal things to complain about, unless you count the crowd from where I was standing, which was incredibly beat. Just because Carrie jumps up and down during every song doesn't mean that 6 foot audience members should follow suit. I know that Sleater-Kinney is your favorite rock band, and you've been absolutely dying to go to the show...,but be considerate, folks! Alright. Now it's time to watch the ladiez on Letterman.
Dead Meadow = darkness
Dead Meadow = heaviness
Shine a light.
Let's Call it Jamming.
Are you not entertained?