Slint / Ariel Pink - live in Louisville (Cover Artwork)

Slint / Ariel Pink

live in Louisville (2005)

live show

Tuesday night was the first show of the Slint reunion, taking place in the band's (and my) hometown of Louisville, KY. The show was supposed to start around 7:30, but most of the crowd was fashionably late.

Opening act Ariel Pink took the stage around 8:00. I heard from a friend that they share members with the Animal Collective, the well-known Brooklyn experimental/pop/noise band. The group consisted of a guitarist/vocalist, a bassist/vocalist, a keyboard player, and another dude who layed on the floor playing what I guess was a mixing board/drum machine. Their sound was a mixture of 60's folk/pop/psychedelica meets modern day electronic/experimental. Their singer and guitarist was keen on dancing around in his knee high boots while singing in his high whiny voice. I could see this sounding better on record, but the mix was not very good so it didn't translate too well live. The crowd definitely wasn't having it at all, as there were many boos between songs. After about a half hour the singer asked the crowd if they wanted to hear more, which they responded affectionately with boos and cries of "NO!" With that, he walked off the stage followed by his band members.

Finally, after about twenty minutes, the lights dimmed. One could argue endlessly about the group's reasons for uniting. I myself really didn't know what to expect. Would they come out and fall apart onstage, or would they triumph? Finally, the members of the united Slint took the stage without even acknowledging the crowd. Pajo began to tune his guitar for the next few minutes, which made the crowd more anxious, so much so they began to heckle. Then the hecklers would get heckled by other members of the crowd who wanted them to shut up so the band could play.

After a few minutes of tuning and setting up, Pajo played the opening chords of "Bread Crumb Trail" off Spiderland and they were off. They played most of the songs off Spiderland, the two songs off the EP, a few songs from Tweez, and even a couple of new songs. The new songs ranged from jazzy parts to straight up hard rock parts. The one thing that struck me the most was Britt Walford's drumming, which was powerful and set the rhythm for the whole band. The band must have practiced a lot as they sounded really tight. In between songs the heckling continued, as Slint really didn't say much to the crowd. It really didn't bother me though, as I have never thought of Slint as a band with very much to say; their music speaks volumes as far as I'm concerned. They played for almost two hours, closing their set with "Good Morning Captain." After that, the lights came on.

I was blown away, realizing that they definitely live up to their legacy and can transform that into the live setting. I think that even if I wasn't a longtime Slint listener, I would still be impressed with the band as they definitely had a great stage prescence.

Gradually, the crowd began to leave and gather in the lobby and outside. Most people seemed impressed, almost like they witnessed something special, which they definitely had. Let's hope that the other shows will be as good as the one I had just witnessed.