ARCHIVE of District of Cacophony

January 3, 2011 | REVIEWS

Corin Tucker Band, Hungry Ghost @ Black Cat, 10/29/10

The Corin Tucker Band was in interesting prospect! I have really missed Sleater-Kinney in recent years; no one has quite replaced their role in underground music. Sleater-Kinney were passionate and full of fire and conviction, righteous anger, and indignation. We have been living through awfully dark times and it seems like nobody is out there raging against our sucky political/social deadlock of endless wars and corruption. We could use a little Sleater-Kinney in our collective conscious.

At the same time, I really really loved Unwound, and Unwound drummer Sara Lund was on board with the Corin Tucker band as well as playing with opener Hungry Ghost. So I was totally looking forward to this show.

It turned out to be pretty good, but not the release valve for political frustration that I got from Sleater-Kinney, nor the noise/beauty catharsis of Unwound. Things change, it’s cool… but I still have that itch that needs scratched. (I am hoping maybe Wild Flag will help a little bit… I was always more of a Carrie fan in Sleater-Kinney.)

Hungry Ghost were good, but didn’t really stick with me after the show. I was a little leery of them because of their name — I already like the Australian band Hungry Ghosts with an “s” on the end, and I am not sure I can be a fan of both. I will check them out more some day — I tend to be in less and less of a rush on these types of things. But I like to support these types of musicians, keep them engaged in a world where they don’t exactly make any money. (And Sara, whatever happened to your old bandmates?)

The Corin Tucker band got a warm response from the crowd, presumably made up of all Sleater-Kinney fans. There were fewer people there than I expected, and they were younger than I expected, and more lesbian. Not that I cared, but I was a little surprised, I thought S-K had a more widespread appeal. The small crowd was the first sign that something was a little strange — it wasn’t long ago that S-K was easily selling out the 930 Club and showing up on magazine covers. But I guess that was eons ago in pop culture.

The friend that I went with had the Corin Tucker Band album, but I hadn’t listened to it, so I went in unprepared. I had read a couple reviews and figured I knew what to expect. It was in fact a lot like some of the more laid-back, Corin-centric Sleater-Kinney songs, the ones where she wails like a banshee over basic guitar parts. But those are not my favorite Sleater-Kinney songs. Her voice is strong and distinctive, but on its own I don’t think it ever carried along Sleater-Kinney. I don’t think it was enough to carry the moderately interesting Corin Tucker Band songs very far, either.

Here’s an example, called “Riley”:

As this pretty accurate Washington Post review mentions, the show picked up a lot towards the end, including a string of cover songs. I didn’t recognize any of the covers, but my friend told me none of those really rocking songs were on the album. The highlight of the whole set was “It’s Obvious,” which I didn’t know was an Au Pairs song, but which really sounded awesome.

So I enjoyed the show, but I felt a little unsatisfied. It was fun to see Corin Tucker again, and I am not necessarily dying for a Sleater-Kinney reunion (kinda sick of reunion shows). But I would like to see her fired up a little bit more. Her powerhouse scream works a little better when she has something more substantial to scream about.

Here is a Wipers cover: