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Sleater-Kinney at The Fillmore

Indie pop tunesmith storms the Fillmore

This entire review will be an exercise in self-restraint. I will not use the phrase Women in Rock. I will not use the phrase Women in Rock. Yes, Sleater-Kinney is made up of three women and yes, they rock harder than your average band, but stereotyping them with a cliché catch-phrase trivializes their intensity and minimizes the impact of their music. Frankly, Women in Rock can't handle Sleater-Kinney.

Singer-guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein along with drummer Janet Weiss are hitting the road after the release of their sixth album, One Beat, and their live show is a performance not to be missed. These ladies are the signature of the Olympia sound you always hear about and are the rock darlings of cornerstone indie label Kill Rock Stars, the likes of which such acts as Elliot Smith and Bratmobile call home.

Sleater-Kinney has clearly done a lot of growing up since they first hit the scene in 1995. While keeping the politically-infused lyrics and raw punky-grrl sound that keeps their original fans loyal, they've managed to push the boundaries of their influences, in turn creating a more encompassing sound that has broadened their appeal. Not only does your cute hipster neighbor with the dork glasses, too small Levi jacket and brown cords worship them, but your little brother sings "Good Things" (a break-up anthem off their Call the Doctor release) in the shower, your mom wants to give Corin (who just had her first child earlier this year) baby-rearing tips and the guy who bags your groceries has One Beat on constant rotation in his car's cd player.

I read once that Sleater-Kinney views touring as a reward for all the hard work they put into recording an album, a mentality intensely apparent once they take the stage. By the end of the set, they're just as sweaty and elated as the throng of fans who've been screaming out the lyrics to every song while head-bobbing, booty-shaking and jumping around with uncontainable energy. On stage the trio is explosive, playing off one another like Pop Rocks candy on a warm tongue. Corin's love-it-or-hate-it voice shrills its way in and out of their driving guitars, alternately steamrolling the melody and crescendoing with the music. Carrie travels the stage strumming her guitar with finger-bleeding fervor, complimenting Corin's vocal tremors with her grounding back-up vocals. Janet pounds on the drums, sometimes precisely, sometimes violently but always providing a cohesive frame for Corin and Carrie to build on.

For the past seven years, Sleater-Kinney's been belting out honest and invigorating songs women everywhere can grab a hold of and swing over their head like a battle-cry or wrap around themselves like a favorite knit sweater. But you don't have to be a feminist, or even female, to be riveted by their catchy, urgent, endearing style of rock that is too far-reaching to ever fit into a tiny, little oppressive category like Women in Rock.