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The Breeders @ Manchester Albert Hall review – a divine night of live music

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Featured image: James Ridling

It’s the hottest day of 2024 in the UK so far, with beer gardens bursting at the seams in true British fashion. For some in Manchester, however, their evening is to be spent with none other than The Breeders. Formed by Pixies bassist Kim Deal and her sister Kelley in 1990, they’re now accompanied by drummer Jim Macpherson and British-born bassist Josephine Wiggs.

Their short run of UK shows this year sees support from punk band, Big Joanie – unapologetically black and feminist, the band have worked their way up through London’s DIY scene and already have two critically acclaimed albums under their belt. 

Stephanie Phillips and Estella Adeyeri grace the stage with immediate and infectious warmth. Though demure in character when addressing the crowd, their sound has bite and packs a walloping punch. 

“Don’t be scared to dance,” says Adeyeri, before they launch into ‘Today’, off their Back Home album. Most touchingly, they round off their support slot with ‘In My Arms’, which they dedicate to those facing the hostilities of the ongoing genocide in Palestine. As with any punk artists worth a damn, their political ethos is interwoven into their music, and they recognise the importance of their platform in drawing attention to injustices.

There’s not long to wait before The Breeders. Over the course of the evening, they play tracks from their triple decade-spanning discography, including 1993’s Last Splash and debut record Pod, the latter famously cited by Kurt Cobain as being one of ten records that changed his life.

They kick off with ‘Saints’, weaving their way through Pod’s ‘Doe’ and ‘When I Was A Painter’, before giving a brief nod to 2008’s Mountain Battles with ‘Night of Joy’, a welcome subtle moment in an otherwise ‘up to eleven’ set.

There’s a herd of fans towards the front of the stage who, despite the searing heat, never stop bouncing. The pit is initially quite well-mannered, only a handful daring to sweat even more than the average person in attendance on this rare day of summer scorch. However, it also serves as a barometer for the show, the ever-swelling crescendo of energy from the band causing the standing crowd to become increasingly more energetic and unafraid to join the mob.

“My sister Kelley is gonna sing a song for you now”, declares Kim, before the head-bopping bassline of ‘I Just Wanna Get Along’ kicks in. This is followed by ‘Only in 3’s’ – Kim has a false start when the wrong note plays, but she’s happy to make light of it and takes two, the crowd on her side the entire time.

They also debut a new track, ‘Disobedience’. Anyone hearing it in passing would know straight away it’s a song of theirs, with a crisp and contemporary sheen atop The Breeders unmistakable blueprint. The main set rounds off with The Pixies’ ‘Gigantic’, written and sung by Kim herself and a renowned fan favourite.

The band’s first steps back on stage for the encore ignite an ear-splitting applause. ‘Walking With A Killer’ and ‘Divine Hammer’ serve as the show’s final act, allowing all to soak up the last moments of what has been itself, a truly divine night of live music.

About the author / 

Jennifer Grace

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