A fond farewell to Sleater-Kinney

153557__sleater_l_1Sleater-Kinney (left to right, Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein, and Corin Tucker) are a band that, when they formed in 1995, seemed specifically designed by God to save me from a future of only knowing how to play Indigo Girls songs on the guitar. They are a band made up of three chicks that, at last, I could bring up in arguments when my guy friends made douchebaggy comments about chick bands sucking, because they kick the ass of most of the whiny dude bands my guy friends favor. They are a band that I would go gay for in a heartbeat. And after this summer, they are going on “indefinite hiatus,” and last night’s Webster Hall show may have been their final NYC show ever, ever, ever. Which means two things: 1) I am old now, and 2) I am very, very sad.

(Read about Whitney’s spaz-out with the band after the jump…)

I got there an hour before the opening band — the excellent RogersSisters — was scheduled to go on, took one look at the 25 peoplealready assembled at the front of the stage and decided that I wouldprefer not to rub up against sweaty hipsters all night, so my fancy VIPpass and I headed upstairs to sit in the balcony and sip my beer inpeace. (When Sleater-Kinney first came into my life, I also did nothave fancy VIP passes.)  But it was 100 degrees in New York Cityyesterday, children, and heat rises; by the end of the Rogers Sisters’set — think My Bloody Valentine + the Von Bondies — I was sweatinglike the fat, old person I am. When Sleater-Kinney finally hit thestage, I think I’d already lost 5 pounds. Who cares. The Sleaters wereright there in front of me! Corin was wailing into her microphone!Janet (who had a fan blowing on her, cheater) was burrowing intoher toms! Carrie (Sleater I Would Go Gay For #1) wasjumping, stomping, flailing! And that was when the spirit took over.

Much like how there is no sex in the champagne room, there is notsupposed to be any emotion in the VIP section, but within the first 10seconds of their opener, “Start Together,”I was leaning over thebalcony railing, banging Janet’s drum part out on the wall below me.Then I was banging it on the balcony railing.  Then I was banging it onmy arms, and on my knees, and on the wall again, and then I wasscreaming “Baby don’t you leave me/baby don’t you go/’cause I’llhead out the fences/head out the door” at the top of my lungs… andthat was it for me, for the next two hours. They played almost all oftheir 2005 masterpiece The Woods, by the way, and I am prepared to go on therecord now as saying that if this really is it for Sleater-Kinney, TheWoods will go down as the strongest final album of any band in history.

I have bruises this morning, children. I feel a little dizzy, andmy palms hurt. My right arm is pretty much completely jacked up frombeing slammed into the railing the whole time, and I would like toformally apologize to the people behind me who I kicked when I leapt tomy feet and started bouncing up and down during “Dig Me Out.” But thenagain, no. I shouldn’t have to apologize for that, much like Ishouldn’t feel ashamed that when they closed with “One More Hour,” Istarted bawling. I was trying to tell myself that it wasn’t tears, itwas sweat… but no, it was tears.  If you missed out on this band, nowis the time to catch up. Because this hiatus can’t last forever.  Idon’t know what I’d do.

Our friends over at Stereogum have assembled pics from last night plus a setlist; theWebster Hall show was also filmed for a documentary, so watch thisspace for when that’s available.  In the meantime, some MP3s:

"All Hands On the Bad One"

"Entertain"

"Get Up"

"Words And Guitar"


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Comments (8 total) Add your comment
  • EO

    Great band.

  • johnathan

    I just wanna say that I LOVE that Whitney Pastorek is working for popwatch now. Her Apprentice recaps are HILARIOUS. Very awesome.

  • Kate

    I’m sad to know that Sleater-Kinney has always been known as one of those must-listen to bands, and yet I never did. I’m now going to have to do it post-humously. :/

  • Sara

    “Children”? I’m not a child, I’m a duckling!

  • Call

    Thank God. Can we all stop pretending that Sleater-Kinney was a band that mattered now? If any all guy band had played chords like them, wrote lyrics like them, had their stage presence, or made middling albums like them I doubt ANY whiney EW writer would be in tears over their break-up. They were always a mediocre band who were elevated simply “because” they were all chicks. Want to call me misogynst? Fine. But I’m still right.

  • Alex

    Can I say your the best Whitney. First, your live blogging World Cup at deadspin and now you are extolling the virutes of one of my favorite bands of the last ten years. Keep up the great work!

  • nathan

    I saw Sleater Kinney last summer at the Roseland in NYC for the Woods tour, and it was one of the better shows I’ve seen in my life, give them some time and I bet they’ll reform in a few years down the road.

  • RexRusher

    saw Sleater-Kinney at First Ave a couple of years ago and they kicked a**!! I love chicks that rock and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They could turn a gay boy straight!!

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