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REVIEW: Sleater-Kinney at Majestic Theatre – 11.4.19

by David Gimpel

Sleater-Kinney returned to Detroit with a new lineup to promote their recently released album, The Center Won’t Hold. Although it’s a sonic departure from their previous albums, it retains Carrie Brownstien’s and Corin Tucker’s ubiquitous sense of urgency.

The Center Won’t Hold reveals a slick and polished indie pop sound produced by Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent). The album has received mixed reviews, and I believe some of the negative ones were reached prematurely. Prior to its release, the band’s longtime drummer left the group, stating it was “time to move on” because the band was heading in a different direction.

On that note, if you sidestepped for that reason, you might be hitting yourself today. Carrie and Corin put on an incredibly fun show. The latest live band fleshed out the sounds of their tunes. They are now a duo joined by a new drummer and two new multi-instrumentalists. Their stage production was very impressive: a psychedelic backdrop and three light boards that displayed some very Tim Burton-esque imagery.  

Being played in its entirety, the new album was the focal point. In a concert setting, the new songs come alive in a way they don’t if one listens to the record. The lead singles “Hurry on Home” and “Reach Out,” have grit and play to Sleater-Kinney’s strengths. The crowd really got into some sing along action on “Can I Go On” and “The Dog/The Body.”  Fans also got to see a rare quiet side to the band when Carrie and Corin sang and played the piano ballad “Broken.”

Carrie gave an emotional speech about how much it means to her to perform in Detroit. Before launching into the rocker “Ironclad,” she also mentioned some of her hometown heroes like Fred “Sonic” Smith and Patti Smith and how the band wants to share their inspirational message. Sleater-Kinney delivered on their fan’s expectations. During the encore, Carrie asked the crowd, “Do you want to hear a ballad or a shredder?” People were silent during voting for the ballad, to humorous results. The band ripped into classics “All Hands On The Bad One,” “Jumpers” and “Dig Me Out” to name a few. Sleater-Kinney still have that ever-burning fire on stage. Carrie flaunted her guitar hero moves and air kick, and Corrine wailed like you remember. This band is legendry! I’m happy they played in Detroit, a city they clearly love.

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