The Breeders can do no wrong at the Paradise

A review of The Breeders at the Paradise Rock Club on August 17, 2009

, Staff Writer

The Breeders, the long-term musical project of Kim Deal, have always done exactly what they wanted. They’ve only released four albums in their over 20 years of existence, and after their platinum hit, 1993’s Last Splash, they waited a full nine years for the follow-up. In this sense, Monday’s show at the Paradise was a microcosm of this career tendency.

They filled the setlist with a mixture of tunes from throughout their career, and didn’t seem particularly interested in introducing the newer ones, and they played their hit “Cannonball,” with exactly the same easygoing, all-smiles delivery that they played every other song. Clearly at this point in their career, the main driving reason to come out and play is the enjoyment value for the band.

The Breeders took the stage with an unorthodox setup featuring all five members stationed in a row across the stage, with drums far right. Kim and Kelley Deal’s brand of sisterly stage banter, made the show entertaining, regardless of the tunes, but of course the tunes were there as well.

They worked their way through a mixture of their heavier, more 90s alternative material, and their acoustic oriented love songs. The Deal sisters traded vocals on some songs, including the sparse “Little Fury,” but mostly Kim held the mic. Her vocals, sometimes awash in echo, and other times blasted through a distortion mic, have always been one of the band’s strengths, as she has an uncanny way of relaying almost any emotion without ever having to dramatically alter her voice, or sound anything less than completely less than completely sincere. On the heavily reverbed “Night of Joy,” Kim sang out, somewhere beyond the crowd, and it wasn’t until the “thank yous” echoed out that her voice was brought back.

The band supporting her is a solid group, who’ve been there since the band regrouped eight years ago. Guitarist Cheryl Lindsey, who they found on craigslist (the explanation of which prompted a good joke from Kim Deal, who mentioned the “pure” days of craigslist when it was used for art and not for murder), provided powerful but restrained leads, and the rhythm section of Mando Lopez on Bass, and Jose Medeles on drums, worked nicely for the longtime Pixies/Breeders aesthetic of anchoring, chugging basslines, and controlled chaos on the drums. Kelley Deal provided a good foil to her sister, adding a slew of guitar parts, and even some violin on “Drivin’ on 9,” the set closer.

The crowd was behind them every minute, shouting out “yes” at the beginning of almost every song, singing along with a majority of the songs and generally lapping up even the more trivial of stage banter. When the band did their cover of “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” the crowd reacted nicely, but not anymore excitedly than they did to any number of other songs, and the general sentiment seemed to be, “we like the Beatles sure, but we like you too.” When Kim Deal took a turn behind the drums, the crowd got a good kick out of it, and even when the kit fell apart a bit (the wood plank she was playing fell) the crowd seemed unphased. That the crowd could be only enthusiastic and excited for set that poured through such a large range of musical history, is a testament to The Breeder’s abilities as performers and songwriters.& & & & &

Whispertown 2000, a group of acoustic alt-country rockers complete with sweet and syrupy female harmonies and harmonica solos from the drummer, got the crowd in a good mood with an impressive opening set.

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