This week The Breeders returned to San Francisco, the city where recorded their second studio album, Last Splash, back in 1993. This weekend will literally mark the 20th anniversary of the release of this album, and the original band members that recorded it were on stage for two concert dates at The Fillmore on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have been to many anniversary-style shows over the years, but this was maybe the most literal, with quite an attention to details, history, and nuance. The Kim Deal-fronted band did a brilliant job recreating the seminal album on stage as part of their “LSXX” celebration. As a special bonus to the two San Francisco dates (the first of which was sold out, and is the basis for this review), the “Last Splash” line-up not only played that album front to back, but their debut album, Pod, as well, so it was a really amazing show for fans of the band.
Well into their world tour, the first date at The Fillmore quickly sold out, and the second show was added thereafter.
I was literally the first person to line-up outside the venue, about an hour before doors, so had a perfect point of view up front and center for the show.
Bassist Josephine Wiggs took over on drums for one of the songs, and snapped a photo afterwards, which was posted on The Breeders Twitter account, so you can see me in the midst of the crowd in that shot:
It was definitely an intimate show, which was well-suited to the material.
- Bridget Battle (vocals, guitar)
- Peyton Copes (bass guitar)
- Jerri Queen (drums, backing vocals)
Tweens as a band is barely a year old, but you wouldn’t know it from their performance (apart from their youthful appearance). Rocking a bit of a post punk alternative sound, they describe themselves as a “Nasty Doo Woppy band from Cincinnati, Ohio.
I was unfamiliar with them prior to this gig, but really loved the show that they put on. I can see why The Breeders asked them to join them on this tour, as they have a bit of an early 90s raw sort of sound with their music, which you can check out on SoundCloud and Bandcamp. It’s kind of like what you might imagine if you put Sonic Youth, Siouxie Sioux, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and some surfer bands in a blender.
Singer-guitarist Bridget has an on stage presence that is very natural and tuned into her music, while Peyton is a madman on bass. Jerri seemed most relaxed of the trio on drums.
Really one of those opening bands that surprises you… like where did these guys come from? Where is this going? Specific to Tweens… is Bridget’s guitar one piece of Scotch tape away from exploding into shards of awesomeness?
Great band, and hope to see them build on their success in the future.
Below are some photos of Tweens performing on stage (click any image for higher resolution):
- Kim Deal (vocals, guitar)
- Kelley Deal (guitar)
- Josephine Wiggs (bass guitar)
- Jim Macpherson (drums)
- Carrie Bradley (keyboards, violin)
As I’ve mentioned quite a bit in the past, I rank The Pixies as one of my three all-time favorite bands, and am a huge fan of Throwing Muses (and Tanya Donelly and Kristin Hersch) as well. I mention this as a preface only to underscore that I’ve been following The Breeders since Day 1 of the launch of the first album, Pod, since the two main players at the start were Kim Deal (bassist from The Pixies) and Tanya Donelly (singer-guitarist from Throwing Muses).
While the primary focus of this LSXX tour by The Breeders is the 20th anniversary of Last Splash, their second studio album, it all began with Pod, which featured a different line-up.
Of all of their albums, Pod is absolutely my favorite. Released in May 1990, it served as part of the soundtrack of my years in high school, and it’s actually one of my favorite albums of the early 90s (of any band).
The Breeders came about as a result of Kim Deal having a desire to write more songs than was allowed in her role with The Pixies, though it does sound like a bit of a hybrid between the sound and style of both The Pixies and Throwing Muses (which makes sense, since there was a principal from each band in this new group).
The Breeders went through different line-ups, and by the time they went about recording Last Splash, Kim’s sister Kelly joined in on guitar and Jim Macpherson took over on drums; Josephine Wiggs and Carrie Bradley were already in the band with Pod.
Last Splash was probably their most successful album, as “Cannonball” was a big hit at the time.
Members of the band have been involved in a variety of other projects over the years, and there have been some subsequent studio efforts (Title TK, Mountain Battles, and Fate to Fatal), but none of these made much of an impact on the music world.
The band has made a big push since the beginning of the year for this LSXX tour, which started with some dates in the U.S., then abroad, and is now playing more U.S. cities.
Back in the day, I only had a chance to see The Breeders live in concert once, but it was a pretty remarkable show. A little over 20 years ago as well, I saw The Breeders play a special date in April 1993 at The Cow Palace, playing a benefit concert in San Francisco along with Nirvana, L7, and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (it was about one year later that Kurt Cobain tragically took his own life).
So I have really been looking forward to catching this special tour, though it was only in a week or so leading up to this show that I learned that not only would they be playing Last Splash in its entirety, but Pod as well.
The concert Tuesday night was really amazing in that Kim and the rest of the band took some time to give a bit of insight into the making of Last Splash, and recreating all the little details.
The band had great chemistry and seemed to be having a lot of fun, which begs the question… what is next? Will they record another full studio album together, or is this it?
Much hubbub was made over the recent announcement in The Pixies camp that Kim Deal left the band, and less than two weeks later Kim Shattuck was announced as her replacement and a new world tour was announced. It would be great if that means new music and more touring from both bands, which is what I would guess is the outcome, but that is just speculation on my part.
The LSXX tour seems to be successful and well-received, and having seen it myself, it exceeded my own expectations. Hopefully it is a sign of maybe more to come?
Below is the set list from this show…
Setlist Set #1 – Last Splash
- Shocker In Gloomtown (Guided by Voices cover)
- Last Splash
- Invisible Man
- No Aloha
- Do You Love Me Now?
- I Just Wanna Get Along
- Mad Lucas
- Divine Hammer
- Drivin’ on 9 (Ed’s Redeeming Qualities cover)
- Roi (Reprise)
Setlist Set #2 – Pod
- Happiness Is a Warm Gun
- When I Was a Painter
- Fortunately Gone
- Only in 3’s
- Lime House
- Metal Man
Below is a video I shot of the performance with my pocket camera of “Iris” from Pod, which is one of my favorite songs from The Breeders, to give an idea of what it was like at the show at The Fillmore on August 27th:
Below are some photos of The Breeders performing on stage (click any image for higher resolution):