With Beach Day
Grand Central Miami
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Break out your jelly shoes, your well-worn flannel, your youthful discontent -- the '90s are back.
It's not just some fashionable truth. The classic music of the '90s is still relevant. And that's cause for celebration. Some of the most influential albums of the era are nearing drinking age, including the Breeders' breakout, surprise smash, Last Splash.
In celebration of the record's 20th anniversary, the band got together at Grand Central to recreate the whole sonic experience as authentically as possible -- down to the same damn wind chimes used in the recording studio -- and played the whole album from beginning to end.
See also: Breeders' Josephine Wiggs on 20 Years of Last Splash and the Future of Women in Rock
The dream of the '90s isn't only alive in Portland. Miami came out to represent hard, some fans even bringing their original record pressings to be signed by Kim Deal and the gang. The lineup today is the same group of lovely ladies (and one lad) who put the album together in '93, originally touring in support of Nirvana on the In Utero tour.
They hit the stage rather promptly at 10 p.m., their crunching guitars still in need of a bit of tuning. The drinkers and smokers milling around the porch sprang to attention and pushed through the heavy doors to fill the floor.
They started their set with "an oldie but goodie," a song that wasn't from the Last Splash, "When I Was a Painter" from the POD EP. Then after a couple last minute tunings and some passive-aggressive banter, they got right into it.
They ripped through the whole record, as promised and it was just as magical as one might expect. Of course, the fans went crazy for the big hits, but they sang along mostly to everything. Between songs, the band would tell stories from back in the day, tease each other, tease the venue crew, apologize for not having the original mini-Moog from '93, though they did dig up the old, aforementioned wind chimes. We're hoping they didn't wear the same underwear.
Not everything was the same, of course. The alt queens and king have aged, though their love for the music is undiminished. They seemed rather invigorated, even if they weren't all that animated on stage.
But then, you have to figure, '90s bands were kind of listless and absent in the first place. That's part of the charm, man.
Musically, they sounded as tight as ever (although you might call their style more of a trudge) and Kim Deal's voice lived up to the fantasy. Our indie hearts were hit right in the feels with those pretty melodies from "No Aloha," "Do You Love Me Now," and "Divine Hammer." We got all excited and threw our hands in the air when Josephine snapped a pic of the crowd and Instagram-ed it from the drum set. (BITCH! THEY DIDN'T HAVE INSTAGRAM IN '93.)
"You guys still doing okay?" Kim asked near the end of the record. "It's so cool to be down in Miami." We kind of got the impression this might have been one of the louder nights on the tour. Miami fucking loves indie-alt classics, bro, you didn't know?
After the last chords of their "Roi" reprise fizzled out over the speakers, they left the stage for a little break, already having promised that they'd play more hits from off the Last Splash tracklist.
"We have other songs, too," they teased (that '90s 'tude has not been lost), heading into a five-song retrospective, mostly songs from their debut Pod and the title-track from the Safari EP. After one more off-stage break, they returned for a proper encore, playing Head to Toe's "Shocker in Gloomtown," and "Lime House."
That two-song splash was truly the last of the eve. They smiled, they waved, they seemed slightly reluctant to let it all end. But hey, maybe it's not the end. Maybe this is just a new beginning. Let's hope.
The Breeders' Setlist
-"When I Was a Painter"
-"Do You Love Me Now"
-"Driven On 9"
-"Shocker in Gloomtown"
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.