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Slinty Fresh

SlintJaded Insider previously gushed about seeing Slint live on its first reunion tour in 2005, an event we never thought we'd see repeated. But two years on, the band is back on the road playing its revered 1991 album "Spiderland" in its entirety, and last night (July 17) at New York's Webster Hall, even offered a glimpse at what could be in store for this unassuming group of Louisville-reared rockers.

Having never been present for one of the ATP-sponsored Don't Look Back shows of this ilk (indie band plays famous album front-to-back), J.I. was happy to find that knowing exactly which song was coming next didn't deter enjoying the evening. The room was dead silent as the chiming first notes of "Breadcrumb Trail" were struck, with vocalist Brian McMahan assuming his usual place in the far left corner of the stage.

Throughout the night (see set list, above), McMahan was often barely audible above Slint's malevolent, methodical riffage, but his screams on "Nosferatu Man" and the climactic "Good Morning, Captain" ("I miss you!") made the kind of strong emotional connection that can only be felt in a live setting. Indeed, this really is something that needs to be experienced in the flesh, because for as great (and influential) an album "Spiderland" is, it is not really that well recorded. The sheer force of the music takes on a much greater intensity on stage, and instrumentally, the band was tighter than the jeans on a Williamsburg hipster. Every hi-hat tingle and pummeling tom smash from Britt Walford was perfectly in place, while guitarist David Pajo expertly toed the line between tension-building, repeated riffs and crushing distortion.

When the six "Spiderland" songs concluded, Slint moved without a break into the jagged instrumentals "Glenn" and "Rhoda" before busting out the night's biggest surprise: an awesome, nearly 10-minute new song dubbed "Kings Approach" that gradually built speed to a furious finish. By way of comparison, Pajo's hammer-ons and pull-offs reminded us of the second half of Tortoise's "Glass Museum," but the track also had both moments of atonality and proggy rhythmic nuances that left us wanting more.

And maybe more is what we'll get. A source in the know says Slint is further along on its first album in 16 years than its members have let on. Pajo did tell in March that "We're going through the same work tapes we used to get material for 'Spiderland.' There are ideas we just never pursued. So far, it's been really good. I don't know what the final product will sound like, but the actual song crafting is going really well."

July 18, 2007 | Permalink


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