Still, even without Tucker consistently firing on all cylinders, the critically lauded trio turned in a fine, crowd-pleasing performance. Opening with "The Day I Went Away," a seldom-played tune from its edgy first album, Sleater-Kinney went on to cover its five-disc discography fairly evenly, with a performance of the title track from its zenithic sophomore effort, Call the Doctor, complete with members of the opening acts dancing on stage in medical gear and stethoscopes, providing the highlight. Drummer Janet Weiss, whose robust beats created a strong backdrop for Brownstein and Tucker's dueling guitars, harmonized with the pair on "You're No Rock 'N' Roll Fun," a single from Sleater-Kinney's latest album, All Hands on the Bad One that solidified its connection with the crowd.
Throughout the night, Brownstein bantered easily with the crowd, thanking her fans for dancing and inspiring them to move even more. By contrast, Tucker's comment that the "pretty women" close to the stage made for more interesting viewing than the dancing masses behind them caused some confusion, although there were plenty of agreeing cheers. But Tucker seemed to catch up with her bandmates by the end of the night, both in terms of relaxed stage-presence and musical caliber, and Sleater-Kinney's two-song encore, which featured a rousing cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" and an explosive rendition of the Call the Doctor track "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone," offered a satisfying dose of the band at its best.
Also performing exceptionally well was The Aisler's Set, which won over countless new fans with its organ-injected '60s-surf-meets-'70s-punk sounds. Singer Amy Linton's vocals engrossed the audience, and her band's punchy pop hooks stirred up dance-floor traffic. Rounding out the stellar bill was The Gossip, a cowpunk ensemble led by charismatic frontwoman Beth, who led the early birds at this sold-out show in a boisterous hoedown while prodding all the "fat ladies" in the crowd to scream with pride. The group was joined by Brownstein, going by the alias of "Randy," who added some tasty guitar chops to one of its infectious punk-meets-bumpkin tunes.