The Breeders and the Montana Boys Wednesday, May 28, 2008 The Ogden Theatre, Denver Better Than: The last two times that the Pixies played live in Denver.
The show started early, so I missed the entire Montana Boys set, even though I made it to the Ogden by 8:30. They sure do run a tight ship around there. Though I always love seeing a band that I’ve never heard, I wasn’t disappointed to get to the main event.
Twin sisters Kelley and Kim Deal took to the stage with their usual beatific smiles and launched into the Amps song “Tipp City” off of Pacer. The entire five piece band -- consisting of Kelley and Kim on guitar and vocals, Mando Lopez (previously of Fear) on bass, Jose Medeles on drums and Cheryl Lindsey on keyboard and guitar – was lined up along the stage, and while this is clearly the Deal sister’s band, the entire group played as a strong unit.
Song after song, it was amazing to see how tight the band had become. Kelley played a great solo in “Bang On,” and it was a revelation to see her as a real lead guitarist. When I last saw the Breeders in 2002 on their Title TK tour, they were no where near as cohesive of a group. The fact that Kim is now officially not drinking probably played a huge part in this show’s success, as did the years they’ve now put in with the same rhythm section. Last tour, I watched in awe as Kim put back almost an entire cooler of Budweiser while on stage, but this time I was simply in awe of how good they’ve become as a live band.
The set was heavily peppered with songs off of the new album Mountain Battles and, of course, their highly successful 1993 album Last Splash. I was hoping to get a chance to catch Kelley belting her heart out on the Spanish-language cover they do of “Regalame Esta Noche” off of the new album, which didn’t happen, but Kelley did tear it up on a cover of the Tasties’ “It’s the Love” (played as a three piece with just her, Jose and Mando while Kim looked on), and it was fun to see the sisters singing together in German on “German Studies.”
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Kim’s vocals were spot on the entire night, especially during “Iris.” That's when I realized that the Breeders really did have a very grunge moment on Pod with that song. Although Kim plays an acoustic guitar on that song (and on much of the earlier songs), the sound was awesomely reminiscent of Nirvana.
For the first song of the encore (“Overglaze”), Kim warned that “this next song’s kind of hit or miss,” but luckily, a girl in the front row remembered to bring her pom poms and the crowd cheered the band on. The result: A total hit.
-- Aubrey Shoe
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I’ve always thought that Title TK was a great album that really showcased Kim as a genius of songwriting and song arrangement. I was disappointed that they didn’t play more songs off of that album. Random Detail: Kim stayed sober throughout the show, but she was spotted drinking a bottle of O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer along with her water. By the Way: They gave major props to their hometown of Dayton, Ohio throughout the set. Kelley was wearing a Dayton t-shirt and the first words out of Kim’s mouth on stage were, “Me and Kelley are from Dayton, Ohio.” They also covered two Dayton bands – Guided By Voices and the Tasties.
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Tipp City (Amps) T and T Bang On Shocker in Gloomtown (Guided By Voices) Divine Hammer Night of Joy No Aloha Pacer (Amps) We’re Gonna Rise It’s the Love (Tasties) Walk It Off New Year Cannonball I Just Want to Get Along Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Beatles) Iris Safari German Studies Empty Glasses (Amps)
Overglazed Fortunately Gone Here No More Saints