Sleater-Kinney - Live In Paris
Regarded as one of the most essential rock groups of the early 2000s, Sleater-Kinney release their first live album, recorded during their 2015 tour at the Grand La Cigale in Paris. Reuniting after a nine year hiatus from various side projects to tackle a music industry that the band felt had little to say, and little bite from the delivery of what it did say, 2015’s No Cities To Love hit the play button to pick up from where they left off, their vitriol and determination not diminished. Not even slightly. This is especially evident in their live performance on that March night in Paris.
The release of a live album can be a mixed bag, seen as a cynical cash cow by an established band to aid a slowing career or to bolster diminishing sales of a studio album; poor sound quality and lacklustre performances can mar the quality of the release. This is not something that afflicts Live In Paris. Other than the great production and recording of the gig which provides clarity and space for each of the instruments, the energy really comes across on the record with frenetic and breathless versions of ‘I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone’, ‘Turn It On’, and ‘No Cities To Love’. The only letdown is that the tracklisting for Live In Paris has been heavily chopped down and switched around, 13 tracks are on offer on disc compared to the 23 track setlist on the night (along with second encore) and are very No Cities… and The Woods biased. Album closer ‘Modern Girl’ actually appeared mid first encore. Saying this, it is a fantastic version of the deceptively gentle song that barely masks the anger and defiance behind it, and narratively it makes complete sense to provide a more cohesive climax and leaves the listener wanting more. Judging by the state of political attitudes towards race, sexual equality and identification, Sleater-Kinney are one of the driving lights and Live In Paris shows that we need them more than ever.