Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Breeders Bewitch at Bowery Ballroom

The Breeders brought the house down Sunday night at Bowery Ballroom, their first New York City gig since 2013's 20th anniversary show for "Last Splash." Boasting the "classic" lineup -- Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim MacPherson, plus a guest appearance by violinist Carrie Bradley on "Drivin' on 9" -- the alt-rock legends served up most of their aforementioned best-selling LP, plus an eclectic assortment of tracks from their other albums, other bands (the Pixies, the Amps), covers and their newest song, "Wait in the Car." Kim Deal still appears wholly uncomfortable as a frontwoman -- nervously asking the crowd if they were "doing OK" in between each song and always seeming as though she was caught off-guard that she was going to have to perform. (Kelley was all smiles all night, which was a joy to behold.)

But then Jim clicks his drum sticks together and suddenly magic happens, transporting the crowd back to the days of low-carb diets, oversized dress shirts and "My So-Called Life." As the band rips through one two-minute masterpiece after the next, it's hard not wonder how this gifted group of musicians could manage to make just one full album together -- and a few others with mix 'n' match musicians? But then the second I get sad, I think of the tennis players who only won one major and ask: Did they underachieve or overachieve with that one shining moment? The brilliance of Sunday's show strongly suggests the latter, so what's the harm in rewatching that winning "match" again every so often? And to be fair, "Title TK" and "Mountain Battles" were awfully good -- Kim's Indian Wells and Miami, if you will.

With Greg and Damian after the show



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