After a mysterious nine-year hiatus, Sleater Kinney, an all-girl band from the Pacific Northwest, announced that they would tour and sold out two nights in a row at the Masonic in San Francisco.
The Sunday, May 3, show opened with Ian Rubbish, a.k.a. Fred Armestien, who is lead guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s good friend and cohort on the hit show, Portlandia. Armestien performed as the character originally seen on Saturday Night Live — a punk who loves Margret Thatcher.
Most of the crowd was in on the joke, but there were some who did not seem to get it. When Armestien/Rubbish was singing “Hey Maggie Thatcher You’re Alright,” there were boos from the center of the crowd on the floor. To the jeers, Armestein/Rubbish simply replied, “It’s okay, you’re paying attention, and that’s all that matters.”
After a half hour and some drunk women harassing many others standing only a few feet away from the stage, the trio — Janet Weiss on drums, Corin Tucker on second guitar and vocals, and the aforementioned Brownstein on lead guitar and vocals — came out onto the stage. They played the first song on their most recent album “No Cities to Love,” released earlier this year which was largely recorded in San Francisco.
The set list was evenly matched with songs from the band’s new album and their past albums. Some unexpected fan favorites like “Get Up” were thrown into the mix along with songs both old and new like “Words and Guitar.” The band also played “Modern Girl,” a tune that guitarist Brownstein wrote while living in San Francisco between 2004-2005.
“We love coming to San Francisco because it was one of the first places outside of Olympia[, Washington] and Portland[, Oregon] to really accept us as a band,” Brownstein said before the band launched into the titular song “No Cities to Love.”
The chemistry of the band was very endearing, with the three women shooting silly faces at one another, coordinating jumping up and down during songs and looking like they enjoyed performing with one another again. It was almost as if their nine years off the stage as a band had never happened.