When one of the best rock trios of all-time reunited there was palpable excitement. No Cities To Love proved Sleater-Kinney still had something to say, topping many year end lists in 2015. The accompanying tour was powerful as the band criss crossed the United States and Europe with vigor and purpose. One show particularly captured the band’s heart, and they released the March 20, 2015 set as their first live album, appropriately titled .
Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss (along with multi instrumentalist Katie Harkin) pound out 48 minutes of hits and deeper cuts on this release. While the group’s tour proved they maintained their sound and style, this live album sounds a touch tame; Live In Paris works as a fun tour documentation but not an outstanding live album.
Tracks from their most recent release (opener “Price Tag”, the off kilter funk of “New Wave”) are the most affecting as the group play with passion. Older tunes don’t feel as alive, Tucker’s vocals wail on “Start Together” but the track never takes off. One of the group’s best songs “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” is almost a note for note recreation, while exciting in the moment, when you are in the club watching them, it is not something that needs to be heard if you already own Call The Doctor.
All of these songs are great, “Jumpers”, “Entertain” and “Modern Girl” from the band’s best full length The Woods, showcase the trio’s writing strengths, “Turn Me On” bangs hard while “Dig Me Out” punctuates things, but long time fans won’t find anything new here.
Live albums in general pale in comparison to studio work for bands that don’t make their living playing 200 nights a year, and Live In Paris is no exception. If you caught the tour, this is a great reminder of that night (no matter where you saw them) and if you haven’t gotten into this band yet it isn’t a horrible starting point. Just remember to also purchase Dig Me Out, The Woods, and No Cities to Love, the reason for this show in the first place.