Indie rock influencers Sleater-Kinney performed to their largest Minnesota crowd yet as they sold out the Palace Theatre in Saint Paul. Touring behind their ninth studio album, The Center Won’t Hold, the band shredded through their entire discography which spans 20+ years.
Perhaps one of the most influential bands of the 90s indie rock scene, Sleater-Kinney finds themselves continuing to innovate and redefine the genre as a whole. With production from Grammy winner St. Vincent, their latest album is a perfect blend of modern alternative and punk rock.
Despite a lineup change resulting in the loss of drummer Janet Wiess, the duo of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker are still able to dominate the stage with their shared vocal talents and incredible stage presence.
My first exposure to the band came through my love of Brownstein’s sketch comedy show, Portlandia. Her offbeat humor, writing style, and personality drew me to the show and really helped shape who I was throughout high school and college.
As a casual fan of Brownstein’s music career, the group really caught my ear with their latest single “Can I Go On,” which has seen frequent play on The Current (who also live streamed the concert). Since then, I’ve been hooked on the group.
Despite not being as familiar with their back catalog of songs, I found myself absolutely engrossed in their performance. Tucker’s vocals were incredibly raw while Brownstein’s added an extra layer of power and aggression. It was surprisingly heavy and, for lack of a better word, badass.
The overall musicianship of this band was a sight to behold. Tucker and Brownstein’s ability to shred on guitar while trading vocals was effortless and beyond studio perfect. The guitar playing from this group truly stands out.
Being a huge fan of Brownstein, I cannot praise her stage presence enough. From high kicks and light dance moves while performing, it is evident she is the band’s secret weapon. Her stage banter was especially enjoyable and I wish she had spoken more (but that’s just me thinking she is hilarious, I understand we are here for the music).
Opening the show was one of the strangest acts I’ve ever seen: the operatic and comedic performer Joseph Keckler. Keckler sang classical opera, subtitles and all. However, I feel like most operas aren’t about eating a shitton of edibles (I might have to ask my opera singer sister-in-law about that one).
This man was genuinely an amazing vocalist. I just wasn’t expecting any of what he had to offer. I was unsure if it was supposed to be a comedy at first, leaving me as the only person in my section uncomfortably laughing.
He reminded me and my photographer of Orin from Parks and Rec. Ending his set with some Halloween vibes, he performed a piano ballad of “I Put A Spell On You” which was a fitting end to a confusing yet brilliant performance.
Sleater-Kinney brought an incredible performance to the Palace Theatre. I wish I had known more of their songs prior to the show. However, that did not stop me from having an awesome time seeing them perform.
If you want to relive their incredible performance, check out the entire show here: