Gig review: Slint at Button Factory, Dublin

This was a rare opportunity to see a band considered one of the pioneers of what has come to be known as ‘post-rock’. Few of us bought their 1991 album Spiderland on release, but it has become a prescribed text for those who like their rock a little less obvious. Support came from the idiosyncratic Katie Kim, whose diffident stagecraft and low key songs seemed ill-suited to the audience, though her set was by and large received well.

As well as playing all six tracks from Spiderland, Slint included material from Tweez and the Slint EP which suited the diehards. But the Spiderland material drew the most enthusiastic response. Breadcrumb Trail and Nosferatu Man came across like dark, rocking free jazz. The overall sound can only be described as deeply musical, a heavy version of Washer was particularly powerful. Brian McMahan and David Pajo handled a startling version of Don Aman, seated alone with their instruments. Momentum grew as the band progressed, peaking with a cathartic version of Good Morning Captain, McMahan roaring the “I MISS YOU!” climax.

For most of us, this was an opportunity we never thought we’d have. The band imploded in a mysterious haze in the early nineties, while McMahan and Pajo formed new bands. If there was a criticism it was that the songs were a little too close to the recorded versions, there was little room for improvisation, and the encore Rhoda was a bit of a racket to be honest. But for the majority, without any baggage of “having seen them in their heyday”, the band did just about enough.

Killian Laher

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