You ready to see Sleater-Kinney get glammy? If you’ve seen Sleater-Kinney live at any point in the past 20 years, you know that they have long been one of the greatest bands on the face of the planet. And part of what makes them so great is their furious, in-the-moment intensity. They’ve always reacted to their own music with the visceral physical force it deserves. But last night on The Tonight Show, they switched up their demeanor. They brought coordinated outfits, an elaborate light show, and synchronized movements. It’s pretty different! But it’s also great! It’s just great in different ways!
Sleater-Kinney are getting ready to release The Center Won’t Hold, their ninth album and their second since ending their hiatus a few years ago. For this one, they enlisted St. Vincent as a producer, and you can hear some of St. Vincent’s sparkling, expressionistic futurism in “Hurry On Home” and “The Future Is Here,” the two singles they’ve released. You can also see it in their live performance of “Hurry On Home” from last night’s Tonight Show. Carrie Brownstein, who sings lead on ‘Hurry On Home,” dressed like a dystopian superhero, staring hard at the audience and doing robotic herky-jerk movements that corresponded with her lyrics. And all the members of the band put obvious thought into their stage blocking, helping push the dark sci-fi vibe. But it was still amazing to see them revert to their old wailing, high-kicking form when the song reached its climax.
This was our first look at the current live lineup of Sleater-Kinney, which will do a whole lot of touring this fall. Once again, Brownstein, Corin Tucker, and Carrie Brownstein were joined by Katie Harkin, the Sky Larkin frontwoman who joined Sleater-Kinney’s touring lineup a few years ago. There’s also a new keyboardist, who I didn’t recognize. Watch the performance below.
The Center Won’t Hold is out 8/16 via Mom + Pop Records. Pre-order it here.