As the date grew closer to The Breeders playing at The Bottleneck, my anticipation seemed to build by leaps and bounds. What was it that caused this phenomenon? Was it my genuine love of the band, a longing for the music of my younger days or the need to see a great band and soak it all in? The answer didn't really matter; I was going to see The Breeders perform live in, count'em, fourteen years!
The first time I saw the Deal Twins in action, they were riding high on a wave created by their record Last Splash. This, in turn, landed them a plumb spot on the Lollapalooza tour and pushed Kim Deal (momentarily) past the legend she had built with The Pixies. Fast-forward a decade and some change... I'm standing in The Bottleneck, drinking a beer surrounded by a crowd comprised of aging college radio devotees, quasi-androgynous weekend scene makers and cooler than thou hipsters talking on their cell phones. Wait a minute; what does being in the middle of all this say about my character and me? Am I a hipper than thou scenester?
As the band kicked out the golden oldie "Cannonball" I realized two things. One, this band is as great now as they were back in 1994 and two, I am officially old. I have seen The Breeders play to a sold-out crowd in a 35,000-seat amphitheater and in a sold-out 1,000 person capacity bar. My old friend, Alternative Rock and I had come full circle.
After forty-five minutes of bullshit, half-assed shoe gazer rock from the less than stellar opening band Colour Revolt, The Breeders' roadies sprang into action with the abundant energy of hummingbirds on meth, readying the small stage for the real band of the night. And it came not a moment too soon. To explosive foot stomping and cheers, Kim and Kelley Deal skipped on stage flanked by new-ish members Jose Medeles and Mando Lopez.
The ladies faces glowed with Midwestern bred Cheshire cat grins of appreciation as the crowd showered applause and love upon them. With Kim's voice echoing the opening line, "I can Feeeeeeeel it!" from "Overglazed" a song from the exceptional and haunting new album Mountain Battles, it was obvious that they had come to play and blow a few eardrums in the process.
The bands' transitions between new and old material were seamless. The set was laid out perfectly, stacked heavy with new songs, classics like "Divine Hammer," "No Aloha" and "I Just Wanna Get Along" and sprinkled here and there with covers by The Tasties and the show's high point "Happiness is a Warm Gun" from Pod.
The way they played all the material like it was fresh out of the box, proved that even though they had been on the scene for years, they were far from bored and could still give the people what they wanted. Their on stage banter between each other and the crowd made me, and probably everyone else sharing the space that night, feel as though they were being welcomed into a kind of weird extended family. There was not a moment in their set that the songs lagged or band seemed tired. They are a superior live band and should be mentioned in the same sentence with the likes of Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr. and Guided by Voices. I'm glad to see them back in the game and happy after their long break.
I am bound and determined to see them live again and I'll be damned if going to wait another fourteen years for the next show.