The Breeders: Live review | The Triffid | 4 December 2018

The air is electric with magic and a touch of mischief as Dayton, Ohio’s favourite oddball musical export, The Breeders, step forth onto The Triffid stage, accompanied by the eerie strains of Bauhaus creepoid-classic, ‘Bella Lagusi’s Dead’.

Playing tonight in the guise of their Last Splash era, ‘classic’ line up, the band return to our shores after an absence of five years, in support of their fifth studio album, the stellar ‘All Nerve.’
Kicking off with the 1-2-3 wallop of the rollicking ‘Saints’, new anthem ‘Wait In The Car’ (with it’s distinctive “Good Morning!” opening refrain), and the exotic thrill-ride of ‘No Ahoha’, the band propel themselves with gusto into their work, their woozy, grunge-pop immediately revealing itself in all of it’s off-kilter glory. The sound throughout is cavernous and clear, a glowing testament to the top notch acoustics of the venue.

It’s hard to avert one’s gaze from the magnetic presences of the band’s guitar slinging linchpins, Kim Deal and her twin sister, Kelley. And while Kim rightly receives the majority of plaudits as the creative visionary of Team Breeders, Kelley radiates her own uniquely engaging presence, whether it be approximating the violin accompaniment to their sweetly gorgeous alt-folk cover of ‘Drivin’ On Nine’ by way of guitar and harmonizing vocals , or assuming sassy lead vocal duties on sister Kim’s Pixies kiss-off number ‘I Just Wanna Get Along’. Throughout the night their sisterly banter never fails to bring mirth, the radiant personas of team Deal proving to be an irrepressible force throughout.

Meanwhile to the right of stage, the rhythm section are doing a stellar job of keeping team-Deal on the rails. The metronomic snap and pummel of Jim McPherson’s drumming is worth the price of admission alone. And the willowy presence of English bassist Josephine Wiggs, who amongst other eccentricities randomly sprays Kim Deal with bubbles from a bubble gun at various times throughout the set, delivers her stark, thumping bass duties with cool as fuck aplomb. She also impresses when taking lead vocal duties on the brooding chug of MetaGoth, another ‘New Nerve’ number.

Of course, “Last Splash’ flagship number and MTV hit, ‘Cannonball’, is treated with the reverence and manic glee it’s status commands. While the mid-set pairing of ‘Glorious’, a slow-creep mantra from the ‘Pod’ era, and the eerie throb and surge of the masterful ‘Safari’, serve as a giddy highlight for fans of the bands early days.

And the big-big love already pumping through the room reaches gargantuan proportions as the distinctive bass line propelling possibly Deals most cherished song, ‘Gigantic’, is unfurled, a blissful reminisce of her time as part of the seminal Pixies. The song serves as a giddy rush, as folk around me assume poses of either closed eye reverence or vein bulging, shout-along glee.

An emphatic performance and real-deal triumph from a band whose legacy continues to blossom.

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