The Breeders

w/ Gaslight Radio

Without the competing covers acts, crowds and club spill-over, the sound from the Zoo can be heard halfway down the Valley's Brunswick St. Mall. Everything an opening act should be, Gaslight Radio are pounding through a fantastic set of textured guitar rock as I emerge out of the crush of the Zoo's stairwell and into an impressively full room. The Breeder's Splendour sideshow has predictably sold-out and a hyped crowd sit engulfed as the group end with the snarling vocal's of Razor's Edge. Unfortunately response to the band isn't entirely positive and the pitfalls of supporting an established international act are revealed when one vocal audience member suggests "that wasn't even shoegazer shit … it was just shit-house".


For a band that have essentially been re-invented each time they release an album or tour The Breeders are an admirably cohesive unit. Kim Deal's rich contralto is the bands major asset and she is a very human front-woman seemingly divested of the typical ego that goes with the job. Inhabiting what appears to be a genuine home-spun personality (from Day-tonne Oh-Hi-Oh) Deal happily recounts stories of bad gigs and life on the road with a self-deprecating humour well-suited to an Australian audience. Kim and sister Kelley's affable stage presence and spot-on harmonies are endearing but as the night wears on their banter becomes increasingly self-referential creating a subtle but off-putting barrier between ‘them' and ‘us'.


As the Breeders tear through a set that does it's best to cover the significant diversity of the band's creative output they give the impression of a pack of too-hardened road warriors in need of some down-time. While there's may only be so much room for original ideas in guitar rock I get the feeling that the band just aren't trying and the performance tonight is solid but not jaw-dropping, with the inevitable encore doing little to enthuse. While tonight wasn't a disappointment the glow of being in the same room as one of American rocks most interesting women wore off toward the end of the gig leaving some really good songs wrapped in flat sound and an uninspiring performance.

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