The Breeders


There may have been several different Breeders line ups over the years, but for many, the foursome that takes to the stage at a sold out Ritz is the definitive one – the four who recorded the iconic album Last Splash in 1993 and more recently the new album All Nerve.

Kicking off with ‘New Year’, the first song from Last Splash, the crowd sing along with every word, with Kim Deal’s distinctive vocals sounding as warm yet feisty as ever, and sister Kelley Deal’s equally outstanding vocals harmonising perfectly. It’s clear that whatever may have happened in the intervening years, the band are now more settled than ever in this line up as they appear so relaxed in between songs, laughing and joking with each other, as Kim tunes up seemingly after every song. It’s this strive for her version of perfection which make The Breeders such an enthralling band.

Of course there’s the obvious hits such as the fantastic guitar frenzy of ‘Divine Hammer’ and the punchy rhythms of newbie ‘Wait In The Car’ from All Nerve, but there’s also the delicately balanced ‘Glorious’ from debut album Pod, and an outstanding version of the slow, beautiful ‘Off You’ from 2008’s Mountain Battles, with just Kim Deal’s guitar and vocals leading the way, before Kelley Deal’s subtle guitar work, and the delicate basslines of Josephine Wiggs creep into play.

They draw on songs from all eras of the band’s existence, so we get a storming version of ‘Huffer’ from 2002’s Title TK, plus the haunting ‘Walking With A Killer’ from Kim’s series of solo 7” released over the last few years. Kim doesn’t address the audience much in between songs, apart from checking we’re ok, which is met with a huge roar of approval, preferring instead to let her sister Kelly and bassist Josephine Wiggs talk to the crowd.

There’s a fantastic version of their big hit ‘Cannonball’ which gets an already energetic moshpit going even more – the politest mosh pit ever though, no pushing, just lots of heads jumping up and down. We also get an amazing ‘Drivin’ On 9′ complete with violinist, with its country-tinged harmonies shining through, and Jim MacPherson’s subtle drumbeats adding to the laidback feel.

There’s a real mix of ages in the crowd tonight from those who were there at the start and the heady days of the early nineties to those in their late teens / early twenties who have only just discovered the band more recently, proof that not only are the new tunes managing to reach new audiences but the band are finally cementing their status as indie legends, as the two kids in their late teens in front of us jump around like lunatics to ‘Lime House’ from Pod, a cracking version of ‘Gigantic’ with Kim swapping to bass duties, and the effervescent ‘Saints’ from Last Splash.

No one writes music like The Breeders, from delicate melodies to full on in yer face guitar rock, pounding drums, and all hell breaking loose, complete with intricate vocal harmonies weaving in and out of every tune. An absolutely astounding gig from a band that sounds as fresh now, as they did when they started!

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.