Sleater-Kinney live at The Camden Roundhouse, March 23rd 2015
An audience can make or break any performance. No matter how far up the chain of success and respect the headline act sits, if the masses aren’t on your side it’s going to be a rough journey, and tonight’s crowd hold Sleater-Kinney in the palm of their collective hand throughout.
The Camden Roundhouse is overrun with hard-core fans, and each one spurs the band just that little further to boiling point. Steaming bodies fly and throat’s are screamed raw as each worshiping fan hurls Corin Tucker’s lyrics right back at her. It’s an overwhelming sight to behold and clearly a special reunion that’s run long overdue as tonight mark’s both Sleater-Kinneys return to London, and music itself, following a hiatus called in 2006.
Since reforming, the bands comeback album No Cities To Love has received overwhelming critical acclaim from across the globe, and this evening sees the trio deliver smash after smash of their new material to a truly adoring audience. Songs like ‘Price Tag’, ‘Surface Envy’ and of course ‘No Cities to Love’ all bring the house down, with choice cuts from their sizeable back catalogue like ‘The End Of You’s scrappy call to arms, and set closer ‘Jumpers’ all going down a storm. But it’s not ‘till the encore that Sleater-Kinney play the ace card.
Again recalling the sheer command and power tonight’s audience hold over the band, there’s a sincere demand for encore in the room. Rapturous applause, deafening cheer and a stampede hailing from the circle tier create a tremendous racket, summoning the power trio back from the wings for a triumphant five-song close.
So many bands seem to jump the gun with their encores these days, as if it’s an expected part of every set, whether you’re at the Shacklewell Arms or the O2. Tonight, the encore is restored and reserved for the crème de la crème that it once was, with Corin Tucker occasionally handing the torch to Carrie Brownstein, whose poignant turns like ‘Modern Girl’ are overwhelming, and with the addition of Janet Weiss’s harmonica there’s a glimpse of precious Laurel Canyon-esque magic hanging in the air too.
With still handful of UK dates to go across Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin, Sleater-Kinney are setting themselves up for one of the most talked about reunions, and album’s outright, of this year.