Austin, Texas, SXSW 2005
Emo's Main, Wednesday, March 16
Sleater-Kinney's May release, The Woods, signals a change. Sub Pop's newest girl group has gone hardcore. Not that they weren't tough before, but now Corin Tucker's Grace Slick has a stronger bite, and Carrie Brownstein's bounce sneers. The packed house wasn't quite sure how to react to this new tonic, but the shock didn't outweigh the rock. Opening with a Woods wailer, Janet Weiss' drumming was the only thing holding the girls back, the trio's tight, steady roll replaced by a chaotic flailing. Not surprisingly, cuts off the previous six albums throbbed with insistence and fun, riding an edge they didn't before. Barely a word was spoken between the three women as they thrashed through the new album, but Tucker's sly grin spoke to their happy reinvention. Tucker, Brownstein, and Weiss have grown up a lot, which is to be expected when you've weathered changing fads and growing cynicism. They've always been pissed off, but with an added dose of attitude, Sleater-Kinney's new direction is angry, just as it should be.