Slint - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


live in Boston (2014)

live show

Slint sure picked a weird band to support their 2014 reunion tour. When a friend and I arrived to the show, experimental/acid folk two-piece Spires That in the Sunset Rise were 10 minutes into their set, with eerie, avant-garde techniques that melded saxophone wails with broken electronics and witchy howling. Think '70s art-house flick soundtracks, or maybe if a character in Lord of the Rings had a drug hallucination scene in the second half when things get dark. It definitely felt weird for the sake of it at times, but a few very vocal, perhaps stoic audience members whistled with high approval for them, so clearly some enjoyed it.

Now, Slint's not the most accessible band of all time exactly (obviously), but they basically sounded like the Ramones after that. In all seriousness, though, it was a refreshingly straightforward, gimmick-free hour and 15 minutes of the band's groundbreaking post-rock/post-hardcore grooves, a locked-in set where they said perhaps all of two words to the crowd before or after songs (before the set: "Hi." After they finished: "Thanks."). They may not have had the most intense stage presence, but guitarist David Pajo revealed a little sense of humor early on with a very brief "Johnny B. Goode" lick as the band prepared to dig in.

From there, they played the entirety of Spiderland interspersed with a few songs from Tweez. It was steady and unwavering, a tight performance that felt immersive despite the dryness of the presentation; the crowd got locked into the band's rhythmic repetition and headbanged hard when the heavy parts thrusted in. Frontman-ish Brian McMahan was more of a sideman, standing stage right and facing stage left when he talked and shouted his cryptic, storytelling lyrics, with drummer Britt Walford shifting around to guitar occasionally and adding vocals. Throughout the set, the audience was loving and receptive, with loud applause anytime a familiar lick curled into view (the incredibly sad hook of "Washer", or the introductory spiral of "Breadcrumb Trail", for instance), a couple corny "We love you!"s and "Come back soon!"s. The band simply responded with slight nods and awkward smiles, as if he they hadn't been doing this sporadically since 2007. No matter--it was a humble, endearingly shy reaction, with their efforts put into recreating their artful material with both technique and just enough nervous feeling.

Set list