Friday, March 25, 2005

Slint @ the Metro

In a kind of dual act of modesty and pretension, Slint performed last night on an often solemn stage with simple lighting explosions. That tone is so good. I got the sense that they were getting a remarkable amount of earnest support by the house and sound people. I knew going in that this tour was a remarkable event but it was still strange to be in a crowd that agreed with me. I cannot remember being in another show where people would shush each other between songs.

I felt a great deal of relief about still living in Chicago when I found out Slint was playing a reunion show at the Metro on my birthday, March 24th. I am pretty much over going to rock shows except for performances by my friends but this was the one show that I always said I would come out of the woods for.

I never saw Slint live. I got turned on to them, a bit after their demise, along with the rest of the Louisville, KY math-rock stuff by this guy Kenny who I went to high school with in the mid-nineties. Kenny always had an impressive aesthetic sense about him for music and color, and most things he turned me on to have had lasting effect on me. Discovering that music like this existed, that there were cliques of people who liked it, and that I wasn’t submersed in that kind of scene was one of the realization moments that I was out of place in central Virginia.

I don’t have the same relationship to any other music as I have to Slint’s small collection of songs. The gem-like quality of the Spiderland album and the band’s short lifespan has created this marvelous aura. The band that did something stunning and then stopped. This band is in control. There really was no possibility of an encore last night. I have always felt they knew they had made one really good thing and it was enough.

Slint has this kind of dual act of modesty and righteousness about them. Their songs are both marvelous and sometimes embarrassingly pretentious (see Don Aman) and the show last night had the same quality. The band was carrying an air of holy resurrection about them and one of the few asides out of the singer/talker was crediting the author of one of their songs and marking him a “genius”. I am sure band has spent the last fourteen year hearing how good they are and how they influences this and that and it seems like they buy it. Unusually, I don’t think it is really a big deal.

The way big words get batted around band is kind of a helpless acknowledgment that Slint did something good. These big words, usually used to flatter and create hype, seem more like a failure for a response in the event of the music. The music is so good it rather eclipses the band. I have less of a relationship through the music to the band than I marvel at the music with the band. I have the same feeling when I hear Roger Federer talk about himself playing tennis.

So, I was happy last night. It was fascinating. It was fascinating to see the small songs from Tweez, which gets maligned because of the rather claustrophobic production on that album, opened up in the live context. Not that there was much improvisation, the songs were presented rather demurely and very close to the records. There were several points of screeching feedback where there was a opportunity to push things and until the last few songs the band constantly begged off those moments, not even pushing it all the way to the reaches of the albums.

While maybe lacking a small effect here and there, the reproduction of their sound was remarkable though. Even places where there where little performance mistakes it seemed like it didn’t really matter, the awkward humanness of these guys is secondary to the magical chiming machine of the song and the bass tone was so good.

Ah Slint.

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1 Comments:

Blogger cooladd said...

Absolutely wonderfull post :) A Pleasure to read. I went to see Slint at the forum in London in March. It was a very eerily atmospheric occasion. I only hope i get to see them again one day.

October 21, 2005 1:26 PM  

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