By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
The cathartic dance party marking the evident end of Sleater-Kinneythe poli-psychotic punk trio announced an indefinite hiatus after this summer's tourfelt like a turning point, an end of the innocence for a fan base that has stayed remarkably loyal for more than a decade. The band represented teenage kicks and college mix tapes for much of the crowd, whose through-the-roof enthusiasm made it clear just how much these three ladies meant to them. Sleater-Kinney's devotees might largely be proper grown-ups with nine-to-five gigs now, but tonight was all about harnessing the energy of a bygone era. To say the audience was sometimes more fun to watch than the band is not an insult.
The band, for its part, ripped through a 24-song, two-encore set without losing steam or focus, opening with, appropriately, "Start Together," as the crowd's en masse pogoing made it clear this was a uniting event. Five songs in came "Light Rail Coyote," S-K's love song to our shared hometown of Portland, Oregon, and when Corin Tucker sang about borrowing her parents' car to cruise up Burnside, I was a high school junior again, in my dad's Explorer, listening to "Call the Doctor" while driving to the coffee shop. Ten years later, in the Webster Hall balcony, I was in tears.
"Coyote" might have been my emotional high point, but the band was just getting started. Carrie Brownstein, a dead ringer for a teenage boy despite being in her thirties, did a series of guitar god rock kicks that would've shamed the Rockettes during "Hot Rock," while drummer Janet Weiss busted out a harmonica for "Modern Girl." The song's chorus, "My whole life/Is like a picture of a sunny day" seemed to resonate with the mid-heat-wave attendees.
As a final parting shot, the band jumped right into its first, and for perhaps many fans still biggest, hit: "In one more hour I will be gone," Corin began, letting everyone know that the end was really here. Later in the song, she sang, "Don't say another word/About the other girl," and all implications for the future state of "women in rock" aside, the only names on our lips right then were Corin, Carrie, and Janet.