Live Blog: The Breeders

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The Breeders
Aztec Theatre; San Antonio, TX

[10-04-2018]

“Are you watching me?” Kim Deal, center stage, asked her twin sister Kelley Deal, stage right, with the nervous energy of a perfectionist who wants to get the next song just right, no mistakes, who understands that each measure in every song from The Breeders’ sporadic and lean discography is a holy artifact, not to be lightly fucked with, from an era, still extant but subdued under autotuned din, when people got together and formed guitar-driven bands and rented shitty practice spaces where they wrote songs and plugged guitars into JCM800 Marshall amps. A pure recitation of “Glorious” follows her inquiry, free of tinkering, revisionist tricks, or mistakes.

Shit, “Glorious” is glorious. Check under its hood for the mechanics of 1990: The year of Pod, a conjurer’s number, the cornerstone year in the self-contained mythology of rock, which Kim Deal and The Breeders occasionally append. “Glorious” conjures a timeless 1990, not as an incident of retromania, but as a living specimen and live-action wire. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again,” Solomon said wearily, but, to our relief, we meet The Breeders again, same old same old: i.e., unalterable, nonnegotiable, champions in command of their sound.

Leader Kim and lead guitarist Kelley, bassist Josephine Wiggs and bounce drummer Jim MacPherson — the classic quartet of 1993, another conjurer’s year — performed Last Splash standards “Saints,” “Drivin’ on 9,” and “Divine Hammer” with purposeful professionalism and cool zeal, for the joyfully receptive and reverent audience of 500, box-office count, about 1,000 persons shy of capacity at the historic Aztec Theatre, San Antonio’s own Grauman’s Chinese Theatre turned performance space with controlling interest by Live Nation Entertainment.

The Breeders kept quicksilver pace during their 90-minute run of 23 songs, seven of which were off this year’s Albini-recorded analog album All Nerve. The new entries kept up with the standards, so much so that smash hit “Cannonball” came and went, not standing out so much as blending in. Of the newcomers, “MetaGoth” — co-composed and front-lined by bassist Josephine Wiggs, who shot bubbles, chewed gum, and kicked ass throughout the evening, and whose too-cool-for-words, too-cool-for-school style hit level of role model cool— stood out for its Breeders-distilled goth-psych and for Kelley’s use of a fingerless wool glove against six strings, which circulated concatenations of blissful and blistering treble and delay.

In other blissed-out moments like the mighty short instrumental “S.O.S.,” Kelley, the guitar hero of the quartet, delivered blunt economical riffs in less time than it takes to tie a Baltimore knot. Therein lies the secret weapon in Kim Deal’s compositional strategy: Form not free verse, haiku not affectation; always forward, never static. The Breeders didn’t dabble in alternate takes, deviations, or longform jams. They played their songs right and good but better, because they played them live with new and tried and true energy, and because, over time, through repetition and deliberation, these songs, these holy artifacts now pour sweet and clear like some vintage wine. 1990, it is a very good year.

Setlist

Saints
Wait in the Car
No Aloha
Divine Hammer
Skinhead #2
All Nerve
Bang On
Cannonball
Drivin’ on 9
Glorious
Off You
Fortunately Gone
Spacewoman
Nervous Mary
S.O.S.
Do You Love Me Now?
I Just Wanna Get Along
Dawn: Making an Effort
MetaGoth
 Gigantic

Encore:

Huffer
Invisible Man
When I Was a Painter

The Breeders – “Spacewoman” Video

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The BreedersBack in March, the Breeders released their first album in 10 years, All Nerve, and it was the first time that the lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson recorded an album together since 1993’s Last Splash. Last week, they released a music video for “Spacewoman” off of it … More »

Watch Courtney Barnett Perform “Nameless, Faceless” With The Breeders

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Courtney Barnett & The BreedersCourtney Barnett and the Breeders have some history together. Obviously, the heavier guitar-rock side of Barnett’s sound shares more than a little DNA with what the alt-rock legends were doing in the ’90s, and she covered the Breeders’ iconic hit “Cannonball” in 2014 and appeared on the Talkhouse’s podcast with Kim Deal … More »

The Breeders Perform On Jools Holland: Watch

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The BreedersLast night’s episode of the BBC live music show Later… with Jools Holland was heavy on the ’90s music icons. In addition to Björk’s first TV performance in eight years, it also featured a performance from alt-rock greats the Breeders, who just reunited for their first album in 10 years. They performed “WaitMore »

Protomartyr – “Wheel Of Fortune” (Feat. Kelley Deal) Video

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Detroit post-punk four-piece Protomartyr have just announced their new release Consolation E.P. As the follow-up to their 2017 full-length album Relatives In Descent, this four-song EP features two tracks with Kelley Deal of the Breeders, whose first album in 10 years All Nerve dropped this past March. And like All Nerve, it was … More »

Father John Misty Is Letting His Brilliant Songwriting Do The Talking These Days

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Have you noticed the silence? I realize the other guy releasing an album 6/1 has been drowning out everybody else anyway, but the contrast is instructive: Whereas Kanye West is doing everything he can to rankle and entrance the masses, his fellow media-savvy cult of personality Josh Tillman hasn’t made a peep. His latest … More »

Watch The Breeders Return To Conan After 25 Years

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Back in 1993, the first year that Conan O’Brien was the host of Late Night, the Breeders appeared on his show. Back then, O’Brien’s Late Night was the only late-night show that consistently booked left-of-center rock bands — even left-of-center rock bands who had radio hits, as the Breeders did. On Conan, the Breeders played … More »

Stream The Breeders All Nerve

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The Breeders’ first album in 10 years is finally here. All Nerve marks the first time Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson have recorded an LP together since their 1993 classic Last Splash, and we’ve heard a few singles from the album, including “Nervous Mary,” “Wait In The Car,” and … More »

The Breeders – “Nervous Mary”

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Next week, the Breeders return with All Nerve, their first album in 10 years (since 2008’s Mountain Battles and the first with the classic lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson since 1993’s Last Splash. We’ve heard two songs from it so far, “Wait In The Car” and the More »

The Breeders announce first new album in a decade, All Nerve, remind us all what an electric guitar sounds like

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Look y’all: I know it can be hard to remember with all the legal marijuana we’ve been smoking constantly and all the hardcore gangster rap and knob-twiddling techno rotting our brains (not to mention all the violent video games!), but there used to be this thing called “rock ‘n’ roll” — and there used to be this one band called “The Breeders” who were actually pretty damn good at it! Now, the reason I’m interrupting your daily binge on sociopathic YouTube vlogger drama to tell you this seemingly irrelevant information is because, in fact, The Breeders are coming back. To save rock ‘n’ roll! That’s right: we can all listen to real music again!

So put down the avocado toast and listen up: The Breeders have announced their first new album in over 10 (but fewer than 11) years! It’s called All Nerve, and it’s out through 4AD on March 2 — better known as Read Across America Day (what are books, again?). Pre-order it here.

The album will feature the band’s classic Last Splash line-up, consisting of Kim Deal, Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson; who reunited on stage alllllllll the waaaaaay back in 2013 and have been virtually inseparable ever since! To prove it, the band is also taking off on an enormous tour across North America and Europe. Check out the dates below! (Oh, and heads up: they play real instruments on stage, not all that auto-tune and press play and bob your head nonsense we’re used to…)

If you’ve been drawing a blank through this whole article because you vaped your brain to mush or something, the band shared the first new track from the album a few months ago to help us all remember what that familiar twang of the electric guitar sounds like. SO: listen to “Wait in the Car,” watch the album trailer, read the entire tracklist and tour date itinerary below, and REJOICE: for rock ‘n’ roll has indeed been saved; and, consequently, human dignity has, too!


All Nerve tracklisting:

01. Nervous Mary
02. Wait in the Car
03. All Nerve
04. MetaGoth
05. Spacewoman
06. Walking with the Killer
07. Howl at the Summit
08. Archangel’s Thunderbird
09. Dawn: Making an Effort
10. Skinhead #2
11. Blues at the Acropolis

The Breeders dates aplenty:

04.06.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Theatre at Ace Hotel
04.07.18 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
04.08.18 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic
04.10.18 – Portland, OR – McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
04.11.18 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
04.13.18 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo
04.15.18 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
04.16.18 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Grand at The Complex
04.18.18 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theater
04.19.18 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
04.21.18 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
04.22.18 – Dallas, TX – House Of Blues
04.23.18 – Houston, TX – House Of Blues
04.25.18 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City
04.26.18 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom
04.28-29.18 – Cincinnati, OH – Homecoming Festival
04.30.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
05.02.18 – Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theater
05.04.18 – Boston, MA – House Of Blues
05.05.18 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theater
05.06.18 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theater
05.08.18 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theater
05.09.18 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
05.11.18 – Kansas City, MO – The Truman
05.13.18 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
05.27.18 – Dublin, IE – Vicar Street
05.28.18 – Edinburgh, UK – Liquid Room
05.29.18 – Leeds, UK – Stylus
05.30.18 – London, UK – Roundhouse
06.02.18 – Cognac, FR – Westrock
06.05.18 – Ferrara, IT – Cortile Estense
06.06.18 – Milan, IT – Santeria
06.26.18 – Helsinki, FI – Tavastia
06.28.18 – Stockholm, SE – Gruna Lund
07.03.18 – Hamburg, DE – Fabrik
07.04.18 – Cologne, DE – Gloria
07.10.18 – Bristol, UK – Academy
07.11.18 – Birmingham, UK – Institute
07.13.18 – Manchester, UK – Ritz