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Wild Flag At Radio City Music Hall, Wednesday 9th, 2011

I go back aways with Sleater Kinney.  All the way back to “Joey Ramone” and then moved forward to Dig me Out and one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen, in the hot summer sun at Summerstage, opening for Guided By Forces, rock nyc writer Robert Nevin and I were systematically gblown the fuck away, with an other wordly performance by the trio. All menace and roar and a clutch of superb songsfrom by far their best album.

And then?

I caught em at Irving Plaza, a year later, and they were real good but the thrill had passed for me. And as they became more and more popular, I grew more and more disinterested.

So,while interested enough to catch two thirds of Sleater Kinney, in the opening slot at the Bright Eyes concert, I wasn’t thrilled beyond belief at the prospect.

And now I am.

An excellent set that only stumbled once (an extended coda derailed)

To start where you always start with SK redux, the drummer, Janet Weiss, is a real good one,. She isn’t a steady punk hammer, there is the offbeats she always seems to find, and, since the band has no bass player, she is often filling in the frills and guiding the band as well.

Wild Flag begin with their poppiest and most extravagantly wonderful song, a “hey hey we’re the monkees”, “Electric Band” -and I can’t wait to hear it recorded. Lead singer Carrie Brownsteins trades lines and harmonizes and jams along  with other guitarist and singer Mary Timony of Helium. It is as electrifying an introduction to a band as I’ve ever heard: it sounded very like prime SK plus keboards and none the worst for that.

As the set went on Carrie came across like twenty kinds of rock stars, she has charisma and she has charm, and the band are like an alt rock jam band and they do it well. On “Restless Soul” they interrupt to the song to work out a guitar duel. On “Glass Tambourine”, they sound like SK being mugged by the ghost of Timonthy Leary and when they swerve way from their basic rock song constructs, they sound like the Dead without the blues and without the country: an angular twisted otherwise engaged dead.

And Wild Flag have just started.

Best set of the night.

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