The Breeders, ABC, Glasgow
Thursday 10 April 2008
Didn't you used to be famous? Aren't you, in fact, Kim Deal – a quarter of one of the most influential bands ever and currently in the throes of your third long-awaited comeback of the decade? I would never have guessed.
To invoke Pixies Kim Deal – who has toured the world for the last three years with the now-disbanded-again Boston legends to universal adoration – is perhaps a bit unfair on Breeders' Kim Deal. The latter group, their own high points aside, have always lived in the shadow of their leader's most successful band, and the strange atmosphere here suggested that little has changed.
Despite not having released anything of note since 2002's Title TK album and making a long overdue return to the UK live stage at the ABC, the atmosphere was one of muted appreciation. Certain songs like "Saints", "I Just Wanna Get Along" and the perennial "Cannonball" brought forth a few cheers, but otherwise proceedings were most un-Glaswegian.
Even when the band – Deal, her guitarist twin sister Kelley, drummer Jose Medelez and bassist Mando Lopez – retired from sight between main set and encore, there were merely a few isolated whoops of appreciation and calls of "more!" to draw them out.
Deal, for what it's worth, seemed to have more than others' reactions on her mind; namely, getting to grips again with the whole concept of live performance once more. "The pressure!" she half-jokes at one point. "I used to drink (during a show), I didn't give a shit. Now I'm like, oh my God!"
Yet the Breeders were always a fine and distinctive band, and they still are. Their greatest asset is Deal's distinctive voice, a throaty jazz chanteuse loudhailed through a naturally high-volume punk delivery. Those songs named above, together with "No Aloha" and the singer's prowling version of The Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" showed it off to full effect.
The other weapons in the arsenal of The Breeders seem to be a still-active songwriting skill and a gift for misjudgement. The encore consisted of sedate oldie "Fortunately Gone" sandwiched between two tracks from the forthcoming album Mountain Battles, entitled "Here No More" and "German Studies".
Each is born of a lullaby-like sensibility, but none was an effective way to shock this crowd back to life for one last hurrah.
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