If You came to the Black Cat for a hot and sweaty rock show Wednesday night, then across the board, hot and sweaty was what you got. Touring in support of their latest release Kill My Blues, The Corin Tucker Band made their second stop in DC in as many years, and this time the gloves were most assuredly off. While their last performance at the Black Cat ended with a slightly tongue in cheek take on Sheila E’s “The Glamorous Life”, this time the group ended on a ferocious reworking of Blondie’s “Atomic,” that begged in earnest for a mosh pit, and almost got one.
Now, even six years after their “retirement,” it’s impossible to separate Tucker’s acrobatic yawlps from the sound of her previous band, punk-riot grrrrl pioneers Sleater Kinney - and for the most part everyone seems to have come to terms with that. Just as Kill My Blues is a far more aggressive and confident record than 2010’s 1000 Years, so too is the Corin Tucker Band you’ll find on stage in 2012. Pulling mostly from Blues, Tucker along with cohorts Seth Lorinczi (Golden Bears), Sara Lund (Unwound) and Mike Clark (Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks) delivered a passionate and loud fifteen song set to a crowd of about 200 people as if they were playing to a stadium of 200,000.
As Tucker thrashed and howled through the twitchy beat of Blues’ Summer Jams,” and “Neskowin,” the album’s first single, there wasn’t the sense, despite the heavy swing back, tonally speaking, towards the music of her past that this was an artist who was looking backwards. Instead it was the sound of an artist who had come to terms with that past and was showing the audience as loudly as they could, what comes next.
On “Outgoing Message,” the next to last track on Kill My Blues, Corin Tucker sings “we’re not making songs for suburban little girls,” and while that song wasn’t played Wednesday night, the sentiment pretty much sums the evening. The Corin Tucker Band is on the road right now, delivering, loud, sweaty, grownup rock n’ roll that comes straight from the heart. It’s expected that an industry veteran like Tucker should come off as a pro some 20-odd years into her career. What’s a welcome surprise is that she and her band rock just as hard today as the first time she plugged in and turned it up to 11.