SLEATER KINNEY BAND – ” Rock Lobster ” B52’s Cover with Fred Armisen 13th December 2015

Posted: November 16, 2016 in MUSIC
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Sleater-Kinney started 2015 by returning to the road to support “No Cities to Love,” its first album in a decade, and ended the year with a unique live challenge: a run of five consecutive shows in New York, each in a different space. The band’s drummer, Janet Weiss, described it as a “shrinking tour” — the Portland-based trio started big, with the Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn (capacity: nearly 4,000, where most fans had assigned seats) and played a subsequently smaller stage every night until it reached the recently revamped Market Hotel in Bushwick (capacity: approximately 300, where attendees were packed shoulder to shoulder, crammed into window frames and wrapped around pillars).

In the background you might hear, “Oh my God! This is so awesome!” It’s the truth. Such honest words were yelled repeatedly at New York’s Terminal 5 , when Fred Armisen (Ms. Brownstein’s co-star on “Portlandia”) joined on vocals and smacked  his cowbell helped surprise Sleater-Kinney fans with this seven-minute to the B52’s “Rock Lobster” cover. The band introduced a cover song it had played only once before, in 1997: the B-52’s playful surf-rock party jam “It’s just the most fun song,”  Weiss said. She added that the group practiced it two or three times at sound check: “Everybody showed up very prepared and I was impressed with all of us for studying and being ready. “Improvising is always more exciting when the crowd is into it and you don’t feel like you’re in a fishbowl. When you feel like you’re with the crowd, it’s easier to go out on the ledge.”

2015 was a massive year for Sleater-Kinney: They released their first album in a decade, “No Cities to Love”, bowled critics over with it, toured behind it all over the world and wrapped it up with a five-night string of shows in New York. Starting at the Kings Theatre and ending at the newly re-opened Market Hotel, the Olympia punk trio defended their newly christend title of America’s Best Punk Band Ever as they rocked out at venues that just increased in intimacy earlier this week.  Weiss, who assembles the group’s set lists, had a host of variables to consider: How the sound would reverberate in the various-sized rooms; if fans would return on multiple nights and wish to hear different picks; the emotional and physical demands on the band’s singers; how the musicians could feed off the energy of the crowd.

Sleater-Kinney, GIF-ified: Here Are 16 From Their Five-Night NYC Stand (15)

Sleater-Kinney might, complete with a flailing Fred Armisen cameo and one especially heartwarming capture of Janet Weiss at her kit with the M Train rolling behind her in the distance, above.

Near the end of the first show in the cavernous Kings Theater, the band — which also includes Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker on vocals and guitars, and the touring guitarist and keyboardist Katie Harkin  made an on-the-fly call to cut from the set the sprawling “Let’s Call It Love,” from the 2005 album “The Woods.”

Weiss said the band was exhausted by the time it hit the stage, after spending the day at “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” repeatedly playing the “No Cities to Love” track “Bury Our Friends” for broadcast that night. “Everything felt like, really scrappy and sort of wild, slightly out of control,” Weiss said. “It’s a smaller, more live-sounding stage, so it was loud and super raw sounding.”

“Little Babies,” from their 1997 album, “Dig Me Out,” made its sole appearance of the run that night: “Songs like ‘You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun’ and ‘Step Aside’ or ‘Little Babies,’ we like those songs, but in the context of this tour it felt a little campy and out of place,” Weiss said. “So those didn’t surface as much as some of the more tough songs.”

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