Slint - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Slint - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-03-18

Slint originally parted company in 1992 after just two albums; they managed to leave their mark all the same. Their second LP, the darkly captivating Spiderland, would pass into that ever-mythic realm known as the cult classic.

More than deserving of the plaudits thrown its way, Spiderland stands as a seminal, hugely influential record. More importantly, this is a record that still sends shivers up the spine all these years later. A record people really, really love.

On the back of this ongoing adoration Slint have sporadically reformed to play shows since 2005. Nostalgia alone can’t carry a show though, so how would Slint shape up in 2014?

First up, our delicate ears are treated to Dublin’s misleadingly titled, Girl Band. Playing a set bristling with noise and invention, Girl Band are a pretty exciting prospect. Guitarist Alan Duggan and bassist Daniel Fox stand in front of an array of effects-pedals, summoning a propulsive storm of sound. Adam Faulkner tears into his drum-kit with the same sense of invention and an admirable ferocity.

At one point they make a sound nosily close to a plane on a collision course with the ground. The set veers between short, skewered punk songs like ‘The Cha Cha Cha’ and the strutting swamp-like dirge of ‘Lawman’. It’s a fun and sonically confrontational set.

I get to the front of the stage for Slint’s imminent arrival as the Brudenell Social Club gradually fills up. After briefly tuning up, the band begins with the sparse, quietly tense instrumental ‘For Dinner…’ There’s so much space in some of these compositions, you can almost hear a pin-drop between the gaps. The majestic ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ sees Brian Mchahan step up to the microphone and you’re immediately aware of just how great it all sounds. Intricate, shimmering guitar lines giving way to torrents of feedback-drenched noise.

Tracks from their sorely underrated debut album, Tweeze, slip into the set with ease. The surprisingly bouncy, bassline-led ‘Darlene’ showing a more playful side to the band’s sound. Ultimately though, it’s hard to argue with the emotional weight of the Spiderland-era material. At one point, Britt Walford steps from behind the drum kit to play a suitably intimate ‘Don, Aman’. Despite the sometimes surreal, cut ‘n’ paste imagery, there’s something immensely personal about these songs; a rawness, an immediacy that’s remained intact for all these years. 

The skeletal, otherworldly ‘Washer’ sounds as desperate, beautiful and unique as it always has. The lyrics bring lonely roads and moon-lit nights to mind as Mchahan whispers: “I know its dark outside/ Don’t be afraid/ Every time I ever cried for fear is just a mistake that I made”. Slint’s music connects with your subconscious; a half-remembered dream. Without a doubt, seeing Slint perform this material live is an extremely powerful experience.

The emotional peak is arguably reached when they play the lunging march of ‘Good Morning Captain’. The crowd impulsively nod along as the sweat pours down their faces (well, mine at least). The perfect exercise in tension and release, the song builds to an impossibly powerful, heavy-as-heaven conclusion as Mchahan moves from whisper to yell: “I miss you, I miss you”.

Like reading something so intoxicating that you can’t put it down or bring yourself to look away, Slint have had us in the palm of their hands for the entire set. Stunning doesn’t begin to cover it. They encore with a couple more songs before leaving the stage, legend very much intact. 

Live photo courtesy of Andy Greenstreet: 

Comments (2)

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Well, you lucky bastard, well done !

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It was pretty special, some of the sweat may have been tears...

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