Live at Albert Hall, Manchester
Some bands like to use pyrotechnics, elaborate stage sets and basic trickery to present their music to the masses. Not so Slint. About as rare as a sighting of Halley’s Comet, Slint mooch onto the stage with a distinct lack of fanfare and are enthusiastically welcomed by a packed, mainly male (and 80% hirsute) crowd of admirers. The setting of the Albert Hall (Manchester’s version) is apt as the former Methodist chapel sees hushed reverence after each song is completed, aside from the occasional shout out by the odd would-be Oscar Wilde in the audience (admittedly the comment “play a fast one” raised a few titters). Kicking off with “For Dinner...” and essentially playing the whole of the seminal Spiderland and choice songs from Tweez, Slint literally let the music do the talking. The pre-song “patter” is non-existent (nominal front man Brian McMahan exists only in spectral form stage left throughout the show) and no smoke and mirrors or ersatz razzmatazz can be found here. Instead Slint serve up, amongst other highlights, a coruscating “Nosferatu Man”, a much welcome run through “Ron” and the guitar duet slow build of “Don Aman” which sees David Pajo and new recruit Britt Walford take centre-stage. The highlight of the night is undoubtedly “Good Morning, Captain” which simply blows away the audience with its intensity and the roar of approval that greets its conclusion is almost a cathartic release. Although this is followed by two other songs (“Pam” and “Rhoda”), this is the real finale of the night as if saying the band are taunting both themselves and the audience by saying “following that”. After about an hour, Slint are then gone. No “good night” or “see you next time!” or “we love you Manchester!” In-keeping with the previous events of the night there are no clichés. Although some people are expectant for an encore (no chance my bearded friends) the house lights are soon on and the audience drifts out, simply left with memories of a stunning performance from a band whose intensity is unmatched. Fantastic.