in 2019, an all woman rock band isn’t as rare of a phenomenon as it used to be, but that doesn’t make it any less cool to see. For a long time, Sleater Kinney has shown people that “WoW, WoMeN ReAlLy CaN rOcK, huh?” and have moved well beyond the stigma of having to prove their worth. An immediately sold out show at the palace theatre when they announced their tour made that very clear.
However, the crowd inside seemed to be a bit too tame for a grunge act. Those who were likely hoping for something along the lines of a 7th St. Entry show only caught small glimpses of that energy in the Palace theatre. The scent of weed that typically permeates in these venues was not there, instead the skunk smell of a surly replaced it. Hardly any phones were in the air as well, perhaps because the generation who grew up with Sleater Kinney didn’t have the reflex to instantly record the show. Or, maybe, we’ve all learned our lesson about shitty phone videos from concerts. “How often are you going to look at that video later?” Brownstien said, pointing to a fan recording the show. “The Current is filming us too” she said. “shout out to one of the greatest radio stations in the midwest”.
Brownstein’s typically good humor seemed to fall short as well. After calling Salt Lake City cooler than St. Paul (Which…..I mean …I guess so) boos from the crowd let her know that we disagreed. She asked if we could agree that they were two typographically different cities, which did not elicit a loud response from the crowd. Not about to discuss the typography of the two cities, She then awkwardly called the audience a bunch of flat earthers. The crowd now was seemingly serious and silent, and, at this point, just wanted to get back to the music. “The rest of the set is just us talking now” she said, before counting into Ironclad.
But what Sleater Kinney’s set lacked in good humor, (to be fair, Opener Joseph’s operatic set was fun and humorous) they made up for in music. Backing up the band was new drummer Angie Boylan, and keyboard and guitarists Katie Harkin and Toko Yasuda who helped expand their sound beyond the typical trio setting we’ve seen Sleater Kinney before. Frontwoman Corin Tucker was really able to show the audience the expansive range and styles of her voice on Entertain, while guitarist and lead singer Carrie Brownsiten often strayed from the microphone to rock out with high kicks, dancing, and at one point, just laying on the stage.
Nevertheless, the group was able to pound out 25 songs and two encores in an hour and a half. Most of the setlist contained songs off their latest record The Center Wont hold, as well as a good balance of older tunes including deeper stripped down numbers like “Step Aside” and “Dig Me Out.” during the band’s second encore.
However, the cardinal sin of the night came from brownstien when she ended the encore set, shouting “Thank you, Minneapolis!” before amending her her statement seconds later “…and St. Paul!”
The Palace theatre is, indeed, in St. Paul.