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shellac 1

It has finally arrived; Shellac at the Edinburgh Liquid Room. I have been counting down the months and days as to see this band in a club without having to make the yearly pilgrimage to Barcelona Primavera Sound is beyond excitement. The fact that this is a true occasion of momentous proportions due to the lack of coherent touring schedule from the band has meant that good dose of Edinburgh folk are here*.

Possibly due to the fact that the band were competing with the Pixies in Glasgow, attendance figures were not as high as it could have been with the balcony closed off and getting to front left of the stage proving to be no challenge. Despite this, there was no mood damping as the level of anticipation in the room was palpable so me and my partner in crime** with pint in hand settled in to be blown away.

We were not short changed – Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer established their positions on the stage; with the drums being front and centre and without acknowledgment they stormed into ‘Canada’ from debut album ‘At Action Park’. The powerhouse continued on with ‘My Black Ass’ and promptly settled into ‘A Minute’, leading to quite the audience participation in the first few rows.

What followed was an evening where all the boxes were ticked. Couple of “new tracks”, taking questions from the audience, playing tracks from every album, and their quintessential choreographed moves displaying that the band is not without their humour***. The crowd throughout lapped it up on the whole though some did prove inpatient when Bob got into a conversation about the resignation of Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and the possible affect that this will have on the public transportation in the city. This led one audience member to tell them to move on, with Bob stating to them “Shut the fuck up dude! I’m talking to this guy”.

With the opening notes of ‘Squirrel Song’ causing recognition and exaltation the band continued on leading to the big hit**** ‘Prayer to God’ threatening to lead to the first instance of a united sing along this evening. The time left was cut short  due to this being a Friday night and the club needing to prepare for all the dancing stuff but thankfully we were treated by the band playing a masterful rendition of ‘Wing Walker’,  before ‘End of Radio’ and the incoherent but exhilarating ‘Spoke’ finished things off.

And that was that… the end. Everyone was happy while those dedicated few were off to see them again in Glasgow the next evening*****. Giddy and content I thought to myself that I will definitely be there when they decide to tour here again in about 10 years’ time.

*Seriously I bumped into so many people I know at this.

**She is the popular writer on this blog 😉

***Like that needs to be proven, all their songs are about Canada and Baseball.

****I believe that would be called sarcasm.


Has it really been 20 years... fuck.

Has it really been 20 years… fuck.

So the show that has officially made me feel old, the 20th anniversary of the Breeders ‘Last Splash’, and to celebrate the Breeders are playing the Glasgow ABC*. As I have never been to a gig where the whole purpose of which was to play the album in its entirety, I am not sure what to expect. Except to hear that album in its entirety… in order, which is what we got but can a gig be special when you more a less know what is going to occur?**

The nae frills stage illustrates that tonight is going to be about the tunes and that is what the audience are here to see/hear***. The Deals & Co, coming onstage to an uproar of applause, head straight into ‘New Year’ before immediately progressing into the big hit ‘Cannonball’ which leads to one of the many flourishes of dancing reactions from the crowd this evening****.

Really, 20 years... fuck.

Really, 20 years… fuck.

Highlights of the set seem to very much depend on each individual in attendance as we all know what is coming but it’s just a case of playing the waiting game on hearing that particular track. However, everyone seems to be in glee like agreement during ‘Flipside’ and a particularly heavenly rendition of ‘Divine Hammer’ which has everyone plastered with a smile on their face*****.

As the closing of ‘Roi (reprise)’ signals the end of the main set, not one person budges, expectant and desperate for more despite ‘Last Splash’ being played in full. Their patience and dedication is duly rewarded as the band saunters on stage and proceeds to head into a cover of American Lo-Fi legends Guided by Voices****** ‘Shocker in Gloomtown’. Once this is done we are all treated to two encores worth of ‘Pod’ and ‘Safari EP’ tracks which just continues the already jubilant vibe created, with ‘Don’t Call Home’ providing a memorable but sombre finishing number.

Although this may have been just a glorified nostalgia trip for all in attendance and the band themselves… who gives a shit! Those tracks I still frequently listen to, it was great hearing it live, especially by the original incarnation of the band, and everyone seemed to have a big smile on their face. What more can you ask for?

*Amongst other places.

**Do I get extra credit for pointing out the bloody obvious?

**Lets read on…

***Dare I say it is quite nice to get the ‘hit’ out of the way.

****Well at least I did, grinning from cheek to cheek I must have looked like an idiot.

*****All hail the Guided by Voices.