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Concert review: Sleater-Kinney still has its riot energy

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Columbus was rocking when indie rockers Sleater-Kinney played Newport Music Hall on Saturday night.  The band — featuring singers and guitarists Corrin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein with Janet Weiss on drums — did what it does best: played its garage-style punk rock for a sold-out hall of adoring fans.

Members of the opening act, Waxahatchee, a band from Birmingham, Alabama, that is led by singer songwriter Katie Crutchfield, told the audience that Sleater-Kinney was their hero. The influence really showed in the band’s set, which consisted of multiple two minute long garage rock songs that are reminiscent of ‘90s punk rock.  However, its final song, “Bonfire,” was a highlight because of the nice change in style and how drawn out the song was. It was more modern than the rest of the set and was a nice transition into the main act.

Formed in 1994 in Olympia, Washington, Sleater-Kinney represents the “riot grrrl” scene of the Pacific Northwest, which promotes social equality and feminism. This is the band’s first tour since going on hiatus in 2007. Sleater-Kinney mixed its old favorites, including “Entertain” and “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone,” with new songs from its new record, “No Cities to Love,” including the title track and “Price Tag,” which it opened with.

The masterful guitar playing of  Brownstein mixed with the screeching vocals of both Brownstein and Tucker really made each song a new experience for the audience.  Brownstein especially was a performer. On all of her guitar riffs, she was jumping around, moving with the music and seemed to be having a blast. At one point during a riff, Brownstein fell on the floor and played the guitar there, just moving with the music.

Tucker’s portrayal of the lyrics in these songs made the audience hold onto every word. With the crowd singing along, it really made the atmosphere perfect for the level of energy Sleater-Kinney was giving to its songs. The Newport had an effect on this energy level too. It was the perfect venue for this garage, punk, loud rock music.

The camaraderie between the bandmates was clear and throughout the set; it was clear that they were enjoying themselves, which made it all the more enjoyable for the audience. The energy from both the band and the audience gave this show an incredible atmosphere that made it memorable for all concertgoers.

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