After a relatively tough week at work, I was just about ready to kick the doors down, headbang crazily, and enjoy a loud Friday night as a way to start my weekend and get past my troubles. And I did exactly that (minus the kicking down of doors) when I attended the sold-out concert for Washington punk-rock band Sleater-Kinney at The Hollywood Palladium.

If you don’t know who Sleater-Kinney is by now, you’re either living under a “Hot Rock” or you need to “Call The Doctor” and get your music listening in check. I will admit, to my chagrin, that I did not really get into Sleater-Kinney until the announcement in 2014 that the three-piece riotgrrrl band would be returning after a ten-year hiatus with a new album in 2015. They were always one of those bands I’d “heard of, never heard,” so I decided to change that by listening to 2005’s The Woods and working my way backwards. Let’s just say I’m never returning to my Sleater-Kinney-less lifestyle.

Sleater-Kinney No Cities To Love

Regardless of whether you’ve heard Sleater-Kinney or just heard of them, you really have no idea of the band’s intense energy until you actually witness it. Sleater-Kinney is a whole other animal when they perform live (a “Fox” perhaps?), and I was lucky enough to be one of the few hundred people at the Palladium Friday night feeling their brand of fiery rock cranked to 11. Seriously, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss kicked major ass, even if it’s come to be a bit expected.

The three-piece took the stage to perform an hour-and-a-half set, though honestly, it could have lasted an additional hour considering the band has eight albums to their name. The setlist comprised tracks from across their discography, including “Dig Me Out,” “Youth Decay,” “Words and Guitar,” “Sympathy,” and “One More Hour” — basically enough to fill the heart of every fan in attendance and then some.


The tour was primarily in support of Sleater-Kinney’s comeback album, this year’s No Cities to Love, but I was surprised to hear more than half of my favorite album, The Woods, performed, specifically “What’s Mine Is Yours” (my favorite track) and “Let’s Call It Love,” the band’s longest track at nearly 11 minutes. The crunch and distortion of that album’s tracks was very much intact when they were performing the songs, and even while “The Fox” didn’t necessarily open the show like it does the album, Corin Tucker was just as wonderfully piercing, Janet Weiss destroyed her drums, and Carrie Brownstein rolled her bass around her shoulders and then some.

Sleater-Kinney’s stage setup featured some of the most blinding lights I’ve ever seen (or haven’t seen, since now I’m blind), and when an occasional wind blower would turn on, a towering, feathery backdrop would ruffle as the breeze cooled off Janet Weiss. It definitely made the stage look and feel larger than it actually was, though it also led me to question the choice of venue given that the band, with their success and tenure, could easily have filled a larger one with even more adoring fans.

With that said, however, Sleater-Kinney dominated that stage left to right and front to back, and while they obviously have the discography to make any live performance a great one, their combined energy was what made the night most memorable, and it’s the primary reason you need to see their studio recordings come to life. Regardless of which venue, any of the remaining dates on their tour are sure to deliver a night of fantastic rock ‘n roll from some of the best artists still in peak form.

No Cities to Love is available now from Sub Pop.

Sleater-Kinney Tour Dates:

May 05 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom * [Sold Out]
May 06 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom * [Sold Out]
May 07 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox * [Sold Out]
May 08 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox * [Sold Out]
May 09 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox * [Sold Out]
May 22 – Quincy, WA – Sasquatch
May 29 – Barcelona, ES – Primavera
Jul. 18 – Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival

* w/ THEESatisfaction

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