When a long-time, well-established band tours to promote a new album, one has to wonder how they find a balance between performing songs from that new album and playing the tried and true favorites fans love and adore. Especially when that album is a departure from what many fans are used to hearing. Such was the case with Sleater-Kinney’s The Center Won’t Hold tour, supporting the August album release of the same name, that stopped in St. Louis November 5 at The Pageant.
Some hard-core fans arrived with trepidation, hoping to like the show despite them not necessarily liking the new direction of The Center Won’t Hold. Hopefully, those fears were put to rest as the 100-plus minute concert proved to be one loud — although it could always be louder — raw, raucous, headbanging, solid, night of punk-laden rock ’n’ roll. Five out of the first 10 songs of the night were from The Center Won’t Hold album, however, songs such as “RUINS” fit perfectly between the 2015 “Bury Our Friends” and 2005’s “What’s Mine Is Yours.” The band started out solid with new material “The Center Won’t Hold” and “Hurry on Home” which sounded great live and, again, wove perfectly with earlier hits such as hard-hitting “Price Tag” and the somewhat jangly “Jumpers.”
The dimly lit, hazy-filled stage was peppered with strobe lights that flashed frenetically to the beat on some songs and switched from bright solid whites to deep reds on others with a simple backdrop of a giant eye in the center brought the focus mainly on leaders Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker while new drummer Angie Boylan sat center, just above them.
Brownstein and Tucker often played to one another with big grins on their faces, truly enjoying the moments of the night.
At one point, Brownstein quietly mentioned the last time they were in St. Louis was 2015 at The Pageant saying, “Maybe some of you were there,” which elicited several cheers from the crowd.
All in all, Sleater-Kinney proved they still have what it takes to rock out all night long.
Part dramatic performance with a satirical edge and part singer/songwriter with an operatic twist, storyteller and opener Joseph Keckler, with his dry, dark wit, astounded the crowd. A video screen off to one side offered support by showing the words to many of Keckler’s songs as they were sung beautifully in German, Italian, French, and English so the hilarious absurdity of the lyrics in songs such as “Strangers from the Internet” and “Goth Song” could be understood. His involved, intense, and funny set demanded one’s attention.
More photos of Sleater-Kinney and Joseph Keckler: http://bit.ly/SKinney19cz
Up next at The Pageant: https://www.thepageant.com/calendars/