LIVE REVIEW: The Breeders in Boston, MA (09.24.23)
It’s 90s revival time and a good time to be a GenXer. On a late September Sunday evening two weeks ago at House of Blues in Boston, The Breeders played Last Splash in its entirety in celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary. “In case you walked in off the street– I know because I lived here– we’re doing Last Splash beginning to end,” guitarist/lead vocalist Kim Deal explained. I’d never seen The Breeders before. When the album came out, I was heading off to grad school in Washington, DC and wasn’t going to all that many shows.
The Breeders were formed in 1989 by Kim Deal and local favorite Tanya Donelly as a side-project from their bands the Pixies and Throwing Muses. They recruited bassist Josephine Wiggs. After Donelly left to focus on her new band Belly, Deal’s twin sister Kelley Deal took over lead guitar and Jim MacPherson joined on drums.
Riding the wave of alt-rock’s popularity at the time, Last Splash was a huge commercial and critical success. “Cannonball” earned a #2 spot on the Billboard chart. The band went on hiatus after the 1994 Lollapalooza tour.
There was a bit of a mosh pit going in front of the stage and the energy level remained high all night. The Breeders sounded tight and loud and nearly perfect. It was a treat to hear the entire album played. It’s always awesome to see female-fronted bands kicking ass on stage. The indie rock band, particularly the Deal sisters, inspired many young women and gender non-conforming young people to pick up guitars and even start bands. As a former camper and current BRPM (Boston Raising Powerful Musicians) volunteer, I’ll always think of learning bass by playing “Cannonball.” As soon as that infectious bassline played at the start of “Cannonball” cell phones were in the air and the crowd erupted. I particularly loved hearing the surfy “No Aloha,” a stellar “Do You Love Me Now?” and grungy, choppy “I Just Want to Get Along.”
There wasn’t a lot of chit-chat between songs although Kim mentioned that Jim had gone to the afternoon Red Sox game on that gloomy day. She also explained that the song “Flipside” was named because it was the last song on the first side of the album and you had to get up off the couch to flip over the record to side two. “Or the B-side. Jo likes side two because the B-side is for singles.” Toward the end of the album, Kim said, ” We’re classy. We have a British broad in the band. And we have something called a reprise because we’re classy.”
After a brief break, the Breeders returned for another chunk of songs. They opened with a rip-roaring Pixies “Gigantic.” The set included a bunch of songs from 1990’s Pod as well as churning new song “Go Man Go.” It was an exhilarating and memorable night of music.
Featured image by K. Rector