Is there anything she can’t do? Co-creator of the sidesplittingly funny Portlandia sketch show and former NPR music writer, Carrie Brownstein has also played in one of the essential modern rock bands, Sleater-Kinney. Actually, make that two essential rock bands, because going by tonight’s showing, Wild Flag are not so much on another level to other contemporary guitar-wielding outfits but in another dimension where showmanship is substituted for thrilling realism, a sense of positive abandon and the experience of playing toilet venues all over the world.
Together with co-lead singer Mary Timony (ex-Helium), drummer Janet Weiss and keyboardist Rebecca Cole, Brownstein tears through riff monsters like ‘Electric Band’, balancing pitch-perfect vocals with loose, accomplished guitar work where there’s always a noodling little lick complementing the other instrument’s meaty chords. ‘Short Version’ has one of the most joyous moments of finger tapping since Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’ and ‘Glass Tambourine’ dissolves in a fit of über-grungy, deliciously drawn out jamming, but it turns out Wild Flag also have impeccable taste when it comes to cover versions.
Their take on Television’s ‘See No Evil’ has people beaming, before everyone loses their shit when Brownstein turns into Patti Smith for a rambunctious version of ‘Ask the Angels’.
By Matthias Scherer
Originally published in issue 35 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. March 2012